Millbrook Stars Bantam Green travelled to Niagara Falls to compete in the 2018 International Silver Stick hosted by Pelham Minor Hockey. Our first game was an early 7:00am start Friday morning.
As I gave my pregame speech I looked around the change room to see my team wide awake and prepared to play. I asked the kids did we come to win, and with a loud reply YES coach the championship will be ours. Not a doubt in their minds. This set the tone for the rest of our weekend and first step towards the finals on Sunday afternoon. We pulled off a 5-3 victory against the Lefroy Icebreakers. Kids were pumped and ready for game two later that afternoon.
We prepared for our second game against a team that had travelled from Farmington Hills Michigan. This game did not start out well for our kids as some unfortunate penalties had the Farmington Hills Warriors ahead with a lead of 6-1. We still had the third period to play and the team wasn’t ready to quit. We took a breath, made some changes and fought back to finish with a 6-4 loss. Our first of the season. It didn’t get us down but made us stronger and even more determined to make the finals.
Saturday morning rolled around and we prepared for our game with the host team. Millbrook pulled off a 3-0 victory over Pelham leaving our goalie with a shutout. Saturday afternoon had us playing the New Hamburg Huskies in the ¼ finals for the second time in a Silver Stick Tournament. The team fought a hard battle and came out with another 6-3 win.
On Sunday morning you could see the stress and anticipation in the players’ faces. Only one team stood in our way to make the finals. We played the Lefroy Icebreakers again. This game had to be one of the hardest fought battles of the tournament for both teams. What a barn burner. First period was 0-0. Lefroy scored the first two goals taking the lead. The Stars were down but not out. 2 goals later and the game was tied. The stands were packed with spectators on the edge of their seats. Only 2 minutes remained and Millbrook popped one in the net 3-2. It wasn’t over yet. The clock was ticking and the battles on the ice intensified, and we pull a penalty. Lefroy pulled their goalie and started their breakout only to be shut down at Millbrook’s blue line. 28 seconds remained on the clock, and I called a timeout to give them a breather. We win the draw, and control the puck until the buzzer sounds. WOW, we are off to the finals!
With the championship game only hours away, we leave the rink to recharge the batteries and prepare.
Our opponent is the Point Edward Blackhawks. My kids are tired, battered and bruised, but spirits are at an all-time high. We made it to the finals of the International Silver Stick and we came to win. Point Edward scored the first goal followed by Millbrook. After the second period the score was tied at 3-3. Another amazing hockey game was being played by both teams. Three quick goals in the third period gave the Millbrook Stars a 6-3 lead. The team could taste victory and played with such intensity, it made it difficult for Point Edward to get close to our goalie. A crazy bounce of the puck in the remaining seconds of the third period gave Point Edward their final goal and ended the game 6-4 in favor of the Millbrook Stars. Our team had done what they set out to accomplish, winning the Silver Stick.
I am so very proud of my team and what they accomplished. I would also like to give a big thanks to my bench staff, parents and grandparents as well as our President Roland Greber and his wife Marianne who made the trip to watch the games and cheer us on. We couldn’t have done this without your support. A big thank you to our sponsor Baxter Creek Golf Club.
It was an amazing and emotional weekend for everyone. I will never forget it. Thank you.
By Coach John MacDonald