Congrats to the '05 Aeros on winning the 2020 West London/Doug Jarrett Memorial tournament this past weekend.
This is the 1st year that the West London Tournament was named after Doug Jarrett. Doug (who passed away in 2014 due to cancer) was the 1st London born NHL player, member of the London Sports Hall of Fame & also happens to be our own Jett Jarrett's Great Uncle. A very cool story that we learned about just days before the tourney & hoped might give our Aeros a little extra motivation over the weekend.
Click on the following link to learn more about London's own Doug Jarrett:
We started the tourney off on Friday afternoon by dropping game 1 to Waterloo (White). We didn't play our best game as a team but hats off to Waterloo's goaltender who stood on his head with 27 saves for the win. We took care of business in game 2 with a 4-1 win over Burlington (Red) to finish Friday with a 1-1 record. Based on the scores rolling in it looked like we would have to go 2-0 on Saturday to secure a spot on Sunday.
Game 3 on Saturday afternoon was an entertaining one vs George Bell (Toronto). We were up 4-2 in the 3rd period only to see GB tie it up late in the game. We thought it was a win or else situation & pulled our goalie to go all out for the win. We didn't score but more importantly didn't get scored on (thanks fellas). As we found out after the game there were a bunch of wacky scores on Saturday & all we had to do now was get a win on Saturday night vs the Orangeville Flyers. We really dodged a bullet & the Aeros responded with 31 shots on net & a dominant 3-0 win over the Flyers to earn the 3rd overall seed. We obviously weren't meant to be knocked out of this tournament early. Maybe Doug Jarrett was pulling some strings for us up there.
The semi-finals were set. Oakridge vs Kitchener (Blue) & George Bell vs West London. The Aeros came through with a total team effort in a tight 4-2 victory over a very solid Kitchener Rangers. West London blew GB away in the other semi-final which seemed to be a theme for the Hawks all weekend.
The final match-up everyone on both sides wanted. Coaches, players, parents & fans. Oakridge Aeros vs West London Hawks in the Championship game. Little did we all know it would be a game for the record books. The Hawks came out flying & jumped out to a big lead pumping in 4 goals to end the period at 4-0. The chat between periods focused on staying positive, fighting back & chipping away at their lead 1 goal at a time with 30 minutes of hockey left to play. The boys did just that scoring the next 2 goals followed by a massive save on a penalty shot which I believe was the "TSN Turning Point". We were down 4-2 going into the 3rd period but you wouldn't have known it by the energy level being displayed on the ice & on our bench. The Aeros kept chipping away scoring another big goal to bring us within 1 before tying the game 4-4 on a spectacular effort. The time was ticking off the clock & we had to start discussing our 3 on 3 overtime strategy. We knew this was not going to be an ideal situation for us with the overall speed & skill of the Hawks on the larger London City rink. The Aeros weren't going to let that happen scoring a late 3rd period goal off a turnover to take a 5-4 lead & battled right to the final buzzer to hang on for the Championship win. Unbelievable. The coolest moment for me was our team "Owner" (coach Nathaniel's Dad) giving an unforgettable speech to the boys in the room after the game. Win or lose throughout the season the Owner can be found handing out treats, chatting with the team & reminding us (if you pay attention to his lessons) what this is all about.
It never gets old watching the boys jump off the bench with sticks, gloves & buckets flying through the air. With this being our Bantam year you really don't know how many of these special moments we have left in minor hockey. So far this season we've been Motown Cup Champions, Alliance West Regular Season Champions & now West London/Doug Jarrett Memorial Tournament Champions. We're not done yet as we still have the Alliance Playoffs/Playdowns & the Tier 1 Alliance Championship weekend to come over the next few months. I sure hope to see those sticks, gloves & buckets flying again.
Thanks to the West London Hawks for being great hosts all weekend & always classy competitors. You have an awesome group of players & coaches. I have a feeling this isn't going to be the last epic battle between our two teams this year.
Congrats again boys you're a special group of kids & we're very proud of you.