CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE - A 1ST FOR THE SHELBURNE MINOR HOCKEY
The International Silver Stick is in its 53rd year. The North American tournament was created to promote sportsmanship and goodwill in the game of hockey and pits top winners from 26 regional qualifiers in Canada and the US for one final showdown of "the best of the best" in Forest ON.
The Shelburne Wolves Midget Rep Team travelled to Forest ON this past weekend to play in the International Silver Stick Championships. Our hometown Wolves clinched the Midget C Division Championship Title- a first ever for a Shelburne Team!
Game 1 against Lambton Shores:
With some of our Shelburne boys battling colds and the flu, they got off to a slow start in game 1 against Lambton Shores in the International Silver Stick Championship Finals.
Trailing 1-0 at the end of the first, net minder Woollett built a wall and strong defense by Brake, Gordanier, Janke, Litt, McCallum and Taylor kept our boys in the game. Period 2 saw Shelburne pop in 2 goals by Gordanier and Downey assisted by Decker, Fazackerley, Hunt and Newmaster to give Shelburne a 2-1 lead heading into the 3rd. Emotions were running high after Shelburne netted their 2nd goal and a full ice scrum broke out; after the dust settled, Lambton Shores answered back in the 3rd to tie it 2-2 with 2:46 remaining and force game 1 into sudden death overtime. At 7:33 of the 4th, Falls assisted by Fazackerley gave our boys win 1 in overtime.
Game 2 against South Bruce:
For game 2, Shelburne faced off against the strong squad from South Bruce. Fazackerley opened the game in the 1st assisted by Falls and Taylor. Despite a strong effort from the teams offensive lines of Burke, Earle, Downey, Hunt, Morley and Newmaster, South Bruce’s 2nd goal in period # 2 proved to be the game winner with Shelburne suffering a loss of 4-1.
Game 3 against Wingham:
In game 3, Shelburne was matched against the team from Wingham, ON. Wingham made the board 1st in the second period and Fazackerley assisted by Decker and Taylor answered back tieing the game 1-1. With another strong performance by Woollett in net, both teams were kept scoreless through the end of the 3rd forcing game 3 into sudden death overtime. With a hard charge into Wingham’s end zone, Downey and Newmaster kept the puck deep and Hunt was able to flip it high over the Wingham net minders blocker side for the 2-1 overtime win. According to Coach Earle, “our boys came here with a desire to win and hard work and discipline gave us the shot we needed to pull off this win”. After game 3, Shelburne had acquired enough points to finish 3rd in the top 4 and secure a spot to play in the semi-finals.
Semi-Finals against Dresden:
Semi-final game 4 was played against the big team from Dresden, ON. After a good nights rest, Dresden proved to be no match for the fast boys from Shelburne. Shelburne opened the scoring at 6:53 of the first on an unassisted goal by Fazackerley. Dresden tied the game a short time later to close out the first period tied at 1 each. The second period saw Shelburne take a widening lead with Fazackerley notching 2 more 4 minutes apart for the hat trick on goals assisted by Decker. The 2nd closed with Shelburne up 4-1 on a quick slap shot by Morley at the 7:16 mark assisted by Fazackerley. According to Asst. Coach Paulitzki, “the Dresden team is big and dirty and they came out and put a real pounding on our guys in the first 2 periods. Our team did a great job staying disciplined and our strong defense kept Dresden out of our end most of the 2nd period…and we can’t say enough about our goal tender Wollett – he’s just a Kevlar curtain between the pipes!”
With the Dresden team frustrated by quick offensive puck movement and despite scoring one of their own in the third, Shelburne made it clear who was moving onto the finals with 3 more coming in the 3rd. With assists from Decker, Downey, Fazackerley and Newmaster, defensive veterans Gordanier and Taylor unleashed 2 blistering rockets from the blue line giving Shelburne a 6-2 margin and Morley scored his second of the game at 2:48 to close out the game with a 7-2 trouncing of Dresden and earning Shelburne a ticket to the finals.
Championship Final against South Bruce:
At 3:45pm on Sunday January 10th, the Shelburne Wolves Midget Rep team lined up against the undefeated team from South Bruce ON. The game got off on a real high as the Decker, Falls, Fazackerley line opened the scoring at 9:32 in the first with Taylor assisting Fazackerley on the lead off goal. The relentless South Bruce answered back with 2 of their own; one an on a controversial kick in and allowable goal at 7:54, and the second as Shelburne was playing short-handed killing a 4 minute infraction. With only 4 players on the ice, the fans went wild as centre man Burke found the puck on a feed from winger Earle at the top of the circle. Burke entered the South Bruce end by splitting the defense and fooling the goalie on a back hander that rung off the cross bar and proceeded to roll the entire length of the goal line denying Shelburne the tie.
The boys entered the dressing room for the end of the second flood down 2-1 with 15 to go. According to Team Manager Mike Fazackerley, “it’s the boys out there playing, but I think a lot of credit goes to Head Coach Mark Earle” he said. “Our boys entered the dressing room at the end of the second behind and battered, many cut, bruised and bleeding and all of them completely exhausted. When you’re playing a really tough team and your behind - especially in championship hockey - it takes a real coach and leader to make a team believe they can go out there and get it done; Mark has been telling these boys all season they can do it and what it was going to take to get it done - he made them believe in themselves” stated Fazackerley. “When Earle, Asst. Coach Justin Paulitzki, Team Trainer Mike Taylor and I left the dressing room before we re-entered for the 3rd, the boys were all in a circle huddled on their knees and committing whatever they had left to each other. That’s a moment in a lot of hockey and a lot of dressing rooms that I’ll never forget”.
When played resumed in the third, Fazackerley found the back of the net again at 13:17 assisted by Falls and Hunt. The game was a tie!
With about 11 minutes remaining, we got called with cross checking”, said Team Trainer Mike Taylor. “We were killing another penalty when Falls rang one off the post. We were getting chances; we just couldn’t seem to get another one in”.
“South Bruce was pressing hard, real hard” said Coach Earle. That’s when Falls fed Hunt a back door pass that found the top of the net for a 3-2 lead with 5:54 remaining!. We were excited, but we knew we weren’t out of it yet”
“We expected South Bruce would pull their goalie as soon as they could”, said Earle. With 6 on 5 for the last few minutes of play, our boys played heart and soul to fend off a relentless attack from South Bruce”.
With 10 seconds left in the period, Falls found the back of the empty net to give the Shelburne boys a 4-2 final and clinch the International Silver Stick Championship Title and a place in the SMHA history books as the first ever team to win the Forest Finals!
“They played as a team and they earned this win all on their own” said Coach Earle proudly.
Well played boys!
Shelburne Minor Hockey Association
Shelburne Midget Rep Hockey Roster:
# 30 Joe Wollett - Goal
# 5 Ryan Brake - Defense
# 13 Kyle Burke - Centre
# 6 Scott Decker -Wing
#10 Trent Downey-Centre
# 4 Brad Earle –Wing
# 7 Stephen Falls – Centre
# 9 Isaac Fazackerley – Wing
# 14 Keith Gordanier – Defense
# 16 Jadon Hunt – Wing
# 3 Darrin Janke -Defense
# 2 Ayden Litt – Defense
# 8 Chayse McCallum – Defense
# 15 Kayden Morley - Wing
# 11 Nathan Newmaster –Wing
# 12 Darren Taylor - Defense
Mark Earle – Head Coach
Justin Paulitzki – Asst. Coach
Mike Taylor -Trainer
Mike Fazackerley - Manager