Motown Cup Champs, News, Novice 1, MD, 2015-2016 (Oakridge Aeros Minor Hockey)

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Motown Cup Champs
Submitted By Rich Palser on Tuesday, February 16, 2016
The Aeros Novice 1 team traveled to Michigan on Family Day weekend for the 2016 Motown Cup.

We started the tourney off with a convincing 5-1 win over the Guelph Jr Gryphons Minor Atom team (a year older than our boys).  After the game it was off to the hotel for pool time and a pizza party.

Saturday morning brought a very tough match-up with the Trenton Wolfpack who are also a Minor Atom team out of the Little Caesars league in Michigan.  We battled hard and came up a little short losing 4-3 in a nail biter.

Saturday afternoon's game vs the North Olmstead Eagles out of the Cleveland area had to be the strangest game I've been a part of as both a player and coach.  We were up by a lot (8 or 9 to 0) in the 2nd when their goalie lost his mind and was ejected.  Oddly enough they only brought one goalie to the tourney & since the game was out of hand we offered our back-up so we could have a decent 3rd period.  William showed great sportsmanship and agreed to fill in for them doing his best to shut us down with a ton of shots on net (only allowed 1 goal which he claims he "let us score" but I'm not buying it lol).  The final was 10-0 but it would have been far worse.

After the game it was back to the hotel to hit the pool followed by a great team party at Dave & Busters with the Oakridge Aeros Major Atom MD team who were also in the tourney.  Now how do you follow up the strangest game earlier in the day?  You cap it off with the strangest fashion show at the hotel later that evening.  Take my word for it as describing the scene at the Embassy Suites would really do it no justice.  Ask me over a beer at the Oarhouse sometime :)

We finished 2nd in the round-robin setting up a rematch with the 1st place Trenton Wolfpack for the Motown Cup championship.  The game just so happened to be on the same ice (even the same dressing room) that Reider and Ethan's brother's Oakridge Aeros team won the Motown Cup on in Major Novice.  We were definitely feeling the good vibes.  The theme of our season is "Heart and Hustle" and the boys sure brought it for the final.  In my opinion this was their most complete effort of the season buzzer to buzzer.  The passing, teamwork and effort shown in this game were unreal.  All 3 of our goals were created off the cycle that we've been practicing and couldn't have been drawn up better.  The final 2 minutes were played shorthanded, 6 on 4 with their goalie pulled for the extra attacker.  With tenacious pressure, blocked shots, great saves by Will the game's MVP we were able to hold the Wolfpack off and win the 2016 Motown Cup 3-2.

Aside from the winning it my favourite part of the weekend had to be Jayong's 1st goal as an Oakridge Aero.  Jayong moved to Canada from Korea over the summer and was a great surprise at our tryouts last fall.  The Lee's were welcomed to our Aeros hockey family with open arms and to say he's been the most improved hockey player would be an understatement.  Jayong made a great rush from our end, deked multiple players and buried it five hole followed by the entire arena (bench and stands) chanting his name.  I'm sure the folks from Cleveland thought we were nuts but we didn't care.  Everyone was so genuinely happy for him and you couldn't wipe the smile off his face.  This continued back in the dressing room after the game earning him the Aeros championship belt which is awarded each game to our team's hardest worker.  What a cool moment.

3 tournament championships in 1 season is a pretty awesome accomplishment.  I'm very proud to coach these kids and be part of such a wonderful group of people.  These are memories that will last a lifetime for all of us.

Back to work this week in our league playoffs.

Go Aeros!

Coach Rich
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