Oakridge Aero Minor Atoms Victorious at Alliance Championships, News, Minor Atom, MD, 2015-2016 (Oakridge Aeros Minor Hockey)

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Oakridge Aero Minor Atoms Victorious at Alliance Championships
Submitted By Webmaster on Tuesday, April 12, 2016
The Oakridge Aeros Minor Atom team took part in the Alliance MD Championships in the Tier II Division this past weekend in St Catharines and after four hard fought games came home with the gold medal and Championship Banner.

The boys looked a little tentative in their first game Friday morning against local rivals North London Nationals. About half way through the first period however they started to find their legs and really began to take the play to the Nationals. The Aeros eventually opened up a two goal lead by the midway point of the third but the Nationals were not about to give up without a fight and scored on a breakaway to narrow the margin to 2-1 with eight minutes left. Goaltender Grant “Brickwall” Bishop was solid down the stretch for the Aeros though and with a minute left Jack “the Sniper” Brown iced it for the Aeros with an empty netter. 3-1 final for the Aeros.

Host team St Catharines Hurricanes were the next opponent for the Aeros on Friday afternoon. While the Aeros dominated the play for the entire game and outshot the Hurricanes badly the St Catharines goaltender played an amazing game and held the Aeros to two goals. The game ended in a 2-2 tie and while the Aeros players and coaches were a little disappointed with the result, they still knew that with a victory over the Burlington Bulldogs on Saturday morning the Aeros would move directly to the final without having to play a semi-final game on Saturday afternoon.

This would be the second meeting of the year between the Aeros and the Bulldogs. In fact Burlington had beaten the Aeros quite soundly in their home tournament earlier in the season. During the warm-up the Oakridge coaches looked a little nervous as they watched the Burlington players fly around the ice. “They looked big and they could all skate” remarked Aeros assistant coach Stellon after the game. “I thought we could be in a little trouble”. The Aeros came out on fire though and took the play to Burlington right from the drop of the puck. Nik “Boom Boom” Vandeloo got things going with an early goal for the Aeros and they never looked back. By the time “Mad” Max McGill scored the Aeros third goal with a laser beam wrist shot to the top corner of the net all the fight drained out of the Bulldogs and the Aeros cruised to a decisive 6-0 win in what the coaching staff described as the team’s best all-round performance of the year.

North edged Burlington in the semi-final game Saturday afternoon so the stage was set for an all- London match up in the final Sunday morning.

Sunday’s final can only be described as “One For The Ages”. It was an extremely hard fought and close checking game right from the drop of the puck. Not the prettiest hockey that’s ever been played that’s for sure. Gritty, tense and pressure filled would be a more apt description of what was taking place on the ice. No one seemed to be able to get a clear advantage in play as both teams were battling very hard and bodies were flying everywhere. Eventually the Aeros were able to build a 2-0 and then a 3-1 lead on goals by Brown(2) and Craig(1). Goaltender Dusty “Roads” Barker was steady and well composed between the pipes but as has been the case all season North just wouldn’t go away and ended up tying the game at 3 midway through the third period. Time was definitely becoming a factor and overtime loomed as the clock wound down. Regulation ended with the teams tied at three and both clubs prepared for overtime.

The intensity factor which was already high was ratcheted up a few more notches for the overtime which started with the Aeros on the power play. After a few immediate glorious scoring opportunities were denied by the Nationals goaltender the chance to end it early in the overtime, as is often the case in these situations, dried up and the close-checking took over.

No one would give an inch. No one wanted to make a mistake as the first overtime period gave way to a second and a second to a third. Not sure where all the people came from but by the beginning of the third ten minute overtime period the fans were lined 6 deep around the glass. People who had no idea who these kids even were, were now totally invested in this game.

Fatigue was obviously becoming a factor as the boys had now played close to two complete games at a crazy high level as the third overtime period began to wind down. The call for chocolate bars went out and just when it was starting to look like a fourth overtime period may actually be necessary a small mistake by the Nationals defence at the Aeros blue line allowed Oakridge speedster Hunter “the Roadrunner” Craig to break free down the right wing. The Nationals players, knowing how dangerous the Aeros number 8 can be, chased frantically as Craig flew down the right side and broke to the net. Hunter, who shoots 99.9% of the time decided to go backhand deke for some reason and stretched out the Nationals goalie as he came flying in off the wing and shovelled the puck low on the stick side.

One second went by…. Two seconds went by…. Nothing. Finally the official, who was perfectly positioned to make the call signalled the goal. It was in. The game was over. Pandemonium ensued as the Aeros players leapt from the bench throwing off their gloves and swarming each other in celebration. The parents ran onto the bench cameras in hand and it was like a scene right out of a Disney movie.

It was a fantastic ending to a great season. Things don’t always go your way in sports, and while the Aeros were the better team on this day when you go to three overtimes obviously anything can happen. But on this day the Oakridge Aeros were not going to be denied.

 

Oakridge Aero Minor Atom MD

1 Grant Bishop

3 Noah DeCandido

4 Max McGill

5 Ryder Simpson

7 Caleb Scott

8 Hunter Craig

9 Jack Sanders

11 Tyler Percival

12 Noah Chevalier

13 Noah Stellon

14 Gavin Mazak

15 Liam Dunford

16 Brendan Keenleyside

17 Nicholas Vandeloo

30 Dustin Barker

Coach Mike McGill

Asst Coach Steve Stellon

Asst Coach Tom Keenleyside

Trainer / Coach Gavin Craig

Manager Jim Lodge

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