SMHA Early Bird Tournament Champions, News, Minor Midget Rep (Stratford Minor Hockey)

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SMHA Early Bird Tournament Champions
Submitted By Lynne Musselman on Tuesday, October 1, 2019
The Stratford Minor Midget Warriors, sponsored by Stratford Motor Products, capped off an undefeated weekend with a Championship at the Stratford Minor Hockey Early Bird Tournament.

The Warriors opened the tournament against Centre Wellington Fusion (OMHA) on Friday morning. After falling behind early in the opening period, the Warriors stormed back to take a commanding 5-2 lead with under 8 minutes remaining in the third period. The Fusion answered with 3 goals, including two in the final 2 minutes of the game to make the final score 5-5. Curtis Ball earned the tie in net for the Warriors.
 
In the second game Friday, the Warriors faced off against the OMHA Woolwich Wildcats. The Warriors scored first and never looked back in the contest, earning a commanding 5-1 victory. Russel Sebben earned the victory for the Warriors in net and was steady whenever called upon, placing the Warriors tied atop the standings after the opening day.
 
On Saturday, the Warriors faced their third OMHA opponent, the Hespeler Shamrocks. The contest was a fast-paced, hard-hitting affair with the Warriors exiting the opening period holding a 3-0 advantage. The Warriors added two more goals, including one early into the final period to start the running clock due to the 5-goal lead. Ball turned in a solid performance to earn the shutout and victory for the Warriors.
 
With an undefeated round robin on the line, the Warriors faced the London Jr. Mustangs Purple, their opponent in last season’s Alliance Championship Finals Series. The Warriors continued their physical play, landing several clean, hard hits on the Jr. Mustangs and took a 1-0 lead into the final period. The Jr. Mustangs answered with two goals in the first 3 minutes of the final frame to take their first lead of the game. Between the 9:12 mark and the 7:56 of the third period, the Warriors scored twice, while the Jr. Mustangs answered with one of their own. The game ended in a 3-3 draw, with Sebben earning the tie for the Warriors. Special teams played a role in the scoring, with both teams going 2 for 4 with the man advantage. 

On Championship Sunday, the top-seeded and undefeated Warriors faced a rematch against the Jr. Mustangs making it an All-Alliance Final. The Jr. Mustangs opened the scoring on the power play with 0:003 seconds to go in the opening period. Both teams exchanged goals in the middle frame, setting the stage for the Warriors come-from-behind win. Defenseman Drew Wilken raced down the left side of the ice with just over four minutes to go and blazed a puck past the Jr. Mustangs goaltender to knot the game and force sudden death overtime. Just 0:45 seconds into the overtime period, Cole Lewis netted with Championship winner with Jonas Schmidt drawing the assist. Ball and Sebben shared goaltending duty and made several key saves to give the team the opportunity for the overtime heroics.

Notes: Musselman, Carter, and Guzvinec assumed roles up front that limited offensive opportunities for themselves, but were instrumental in the Warriors offensive zone attack all weekend and were key factors to the team’s success over the weekend; Hall, Arent, Wilken, and Deline provided plenty of bone-crunching body checks, especially in the final 3 games and opened up plenty of space for their more offensive-minded teammates; Lewis led the Warriors with 8 goals in the tournament, while Jonas Schmidt added 6 goals. Both players finished with 13 points in the 5 games; Wilken scored twice and added two assists in the 5 games, including a goal from inside his own blue line that somehow got past the goalie and into the net; other Warriors adding a goal in the tournament, included forwards Tyler Wagler, Jacob Hall (2 assists), Nole Musselman, and Caleb Arent (2 assists), and defenseman Zach McCann; defensemen Issac Deline and Matthew Barber and forward Aubrey Carter each added 3 assists, with Ethan Scrimgeour and F/D Anthony Guzvinec also picking up assists in the tournament; in the final round robin game, a Jr. Mustangs parent was escorted from the arena for entering the playing surface during an injury stoppage, creating some confusion and extending the stoppage; Lewis now has 11 goals and 18 points in the first 7 games of the season; Scrimgeour has added 3 points in the first two Alliance League games of the season and has been a noticeable force in the early part of the season.
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Printed from stratfordminorhockey.com on Monday, October 21, 2019 at 6:16 PM