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Minor Atom AA battle Belle River in OMHA finalsPosted March 19, 2013
The Ken Beattie Limited Minor Atom AA's sponsored by ScotiaBank run for the O.M.H.A. championship has found themselves up against their biggest challenge ever. A five game set versus the highly skilled and extremely talented juggernaut from the most southern region of the O.M.H.A., Belle River. This team does not lose. Ever.
They have won both in Canada and the U.S.A. and many have anticipated a meeting between these two talented squads for the past two years. Finally, as deserved, the two best AA teams in all of the province were set to battle it out for the holy grail of minor hockey. A bad bounce either way could end a game or even a series. The excitement was incredible. The nerves were worse.
Due to the loss of a coin toss, the TNT team had to travel south for the first two games of the series. A split was the goal, anything more would be unheard of as Belle River's home record was an incredible 12-0-1, with 108 goals scored and a measly 21 allowed. What would our boys bring?
From the drop of the puck, the standing room only crowd was incredibly loud as they proved minor hockey is alive and well in the Bluewater loop. Our young stars were not rattled and focused they were as they came out with such drive and passion. They won along the rail, they skated like the wind. It seemed to catch the home side off guard as the visiting stars scored two early on.
First goal was scored by Cole "Shoots like a Cannon" Turcotte on assists from Wylie Birkett and Kyler MacNeil. The second of the period was scored by Wylie "the Wizard" Birkett on a feed from Jacob Holmes. An amazing 2-0 after one.
In the second, the home crowd was a little less cheerful, but less than two minutes in, the crowd erupted as they scored to split the lead. After that goal, our young phenoms upped the game and really took it to the Belle River Stars.
First up, to get the 2 goal lead back was Turcotte on a five hole finder. No sooner was his name announced, Caleb "the Quickster" Thompson fired one bar down to take a 'sigh of relief' three goal lead. Assists by Graysen Alexander, Dalziel Kirby, Steven Mercer, and Michael Meszaros. Great period boys. 4-1 after two.
In the third, the home side adjusted, as "the Wizard" now had a cloak, that tripped him and clung to him, like a pair of extra smalls. Our young guns were told to dump the puck deep and don't get caught low. They played this to perfection, as the home side could hardly muster a shot. With nothing to show, the game ended victorious for the visitors with a 4-1 final. Incredible game boys. Awesome play Voj.
With the split guaranteed, our young stars knew that the home side was going to give it their all. In the first, it was all home side as they came as hard as they could to take it to the weary travellers. Our young keeper made some incredible saves to keep the game scoreless but late in the first, Belle River hammered one home to ignite the crowd and take a 1-0 lead into the second.
In the second, our boys found more stride, as they started to take it to the home team. With our incredible speed, the only thing that the home side could do was hang on for the ride, and that is what they did. With no calls our way, we forged ahead knowing it would be an uphill climb.
Midway through the second "the Howitzer" Holmes fired one in from the point on a set-up from Mitchell Smilsky and Turcotte to tie the score. Less than a minute and a half later, Kyler "K-dog" MacNeil took the lead on great passes from Birkett and Turcotte. As quick as it happened, Belle River took it away as they tied the game to take this battle into the third frame.
In the third, TNT continued to battle the forces as they still had chances. Halfway through, "the Wizard" lost his cloak and made magic happen as he scored to give the visitors the lead finally. Assists from Colin Ewing and Jackson Vojin. As the seconds ticked away,
Belle River pulled the keeper to try and get the tie. With a draw down in their end, a timeout was called with 21 seconds left in the game. As Belle River won the draw, they set their star free as he broke our defense he was in all alone.
With our "wall" to beat, it could not be done as Scotty Barnett made his most spectacular save to keep us up one. This is where it all gets political. As the whistle blew for the save with 10.1 seconds left, it still continued to drop to 8.2 before the lone timekeeper was able to shut off the clock. The ref rounded up to 11 seconds on the clock before the drop of the puck deep in our zone.
At the drop of the puck, a flurry of activity created some breath taken moments. With the actual time over but into ref added time showing .6 seconds left on the clock, the game was tied to send it to real O/T.
The devastation was evident as we battled the refs for an already 40 minutes plus a second, only to be robbed in the end. Early in overtime, the home side scored to even the series and give us our wanted split and send the home crowd in a Stanley cup type celebration. What a series. Where's the parade?
Please join us at the New Tecumseth Rec Centre this Saturday at 3pm for game #3 and then again on Sunday at 1pm for game #4. This is one exciting series and we would really love your support.