Great Season Concludes for Aeros (The Canadian Press), News, Atom, BB Rep, 2016-2017, BB (Oakridge Aeros Minor Hockey)

This Team is part of the 2016-2017 season, which is not set as the current season.
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Apr 10, 2017 | Mike McGill | 976 views
Great Season Concludes for Aeros (The Canadian Press)
A great 2016/2017 hockey season wrapped up this past weekend for the Oakridge Aero Atom MD team at the Alliance Championships in St. Catharines, Ontario. The Aero’s qualified and competed in the Tier 1 division of the Alliance Championships this season after taking the Tier 2 Championship last year. 

Faced with some extremely stiff competition, which came in the form of the North London Nationals, Cambridge Hawks and the Brantford Ninety Niners, the Aero’s battled their way into the semi-final game where the were defeated by the eventual Champions the Brantford Ninety-Niners, by a final score of 3-0, in a hard-fought game. In the game prior to that the Aero’s came from behind not once but twice, in what was just one of many extremely exciting games this season, to knock off the East Central Alliance Champion Cambridge Hawks 4-2 in what was a must win game on Saturday morning.

“The goal at the beginning of the season was to make it to Tier 1” explained coach McGill following the final game. “By doing so and making it into the semis, we obviously accomplished our goal and then some. I couldn’t be any prouder of our boys.” McGill’s sentiments were echoed by the rest of the coaching staff. “They seem to play their best hockey when their backs are to the wall,” added coach Chevalier. It’s a great bunch of kids we’ve got here.”

The team’s efforts at the Alliance Championship high-lighted what was a truly a successful season for the boys as they not only reached the Tier 1 Division for the first time, they also won the Silver Stick Regional Championship in Chatham in December, and made it to the semis of the prestigious Silver Stick International Finals in Niagara Falls in January, carding wins over teams from San Jose, California, Chicago, Tillsonburg and Connecticut in the process before losing out to a squad from Lincoln, Nebraska. In fact, the Aero’s compiled a rather impressive 15-5-2 record in tournament play this past season. A stat which seemed to surprise Coach Steve Stellon when asked about it at the season ending press conference following the final game.

 “Really?” exclaimed Stellon.  “15 wins in tournament play. Wow that’s impressive, I must say. Well I knew these boys had it in them. They work hard and they never give up.” Coach/Trainer Joel Simpson also added that he felt that a couple of key September acquisitions really, helped the club this season. “You know a lot of people thought this was going to be a re-building year for the Aero’s”, stated Simpson. “But when we picked up the Bear (Ethan Berry) and Wack-o (Zack Farquhar) at the beginning of the season you could tell that these guys were going to play big for us and they did. They made an impact right off the bat and played great all year.”

Berry in fact led the team in scoring this season, but in true Canadian, hockey player fashion, refused to take any personal credit, preferring to praise the play of his teammates instead. “We’ve got a great bunch of guys in that room” explained Berry post-game. “Sure I got a lot of goals but I couldn’t have done it without the help my line-mates.” Berry played most of the season with guys like (Mad) Max McGill, who had a break-out year in his own right, Liam (Dunny) Dunford and Ryder Simpson. “They were working really hard all the time out there. Getting pucks deep and working hard along the wall for me. You know, going to the tough areas and doing the dirty work.”

Speaking of going to the tough areas no one on the Aero’s did that better this season than the diminutive speedster Gavin Mazak who made up one third of the Aero’s shut-down line along with Jack (Gator) Sanders and Caleb Scott who centered the line and logged some key minutes on defence for the team as well. The Aero’s defence was of course anchored once again by veteran rearguard Noah (Chevy) Chevalier, along with fellow veteran blueliners Nic (Boom Boom) Vandeloo and the versatile Brendan Keenleyside. Rounding out the defence corps was of course the afore mentioned rookie Farquhar.

Aero’s secondary scoring this season came from likes of Noah (Stelly) Stellon, who missed some time due to injury but came back strong and was a real leader for the team going down the stretch, and Jack (JB Sniper) Brown who, as always was a threat to score from pretty much anywhere on the ice.

Of course, the backbone of the team, as is often the case, was the goaltending tandem of Grant (Brick wall) Bishop and Dustin (Dusty) Barker who were extremely stingy this season and teamed for a very impressive 1.27 GAA.

In closing Coach McGill wanted to thank not only his players, but the Aero’s support staff and fans as well. “Yeah the fan support was great this year,” stated McGill. “I don’t have any official numbers yet but I’m sure attendance was up. The air-horn was solid, and there was some pretty entertaining stuff going on out there in the stands. Believe me the coaches and players appreciated the support” McGill went on to praise the behind the scenes efforts made on behalf of the team as well. Manager Jim was on top of things all year. Jerseys were clean and hung prior to every game. All the details you don’t always think about were taken care of. Our pot lucks were strong, and the team get togethers very enjoyable. All in all, it was a great year.”

The Aero’s player, and their families will be gathering one more time this season on April 29 for their final team party of the season.