Minor Hockey Hosts Exciting Mid-Winter Classic

Photo supplied.
Mark Bannerman, coach of the U15 team pictured left, was proud of his team who brought a good attitude and consistent effort to the tournament which paid off in a nail biting win. Chris McLean’s Green U18 pictured right also pulled off a win in another tight match with a single goal scored. The Millbrook White U18 team also played well but was knocked out at the semi-finals. The CMCC was rocking all weekend as 38 teams hit the ice in this exciting three-day tournament.

The Millbrook District Minor Hockey Association (MDMHA) hosted this years Mid-Winter Classic for the under 15 and under 18 year olds from around the province at the Millbrook CMCC and Bewdley arena Feb 24 – 26th.  Over the course of the weekend 38 teams played 69 games finding one champion for each of the 4 divisions. A tournament of this size is an epic undertaking that requires many volunteers who gave countless hours to ensure the weekend was enjoyable for everyone. MDMHA also could not have had such a successful weekend without the support of the arena staff at both the Millbrook and Bewdley arenas, all of the referees and all of the local businesses that helped to put on a great event.

All teams provided fast paced, high caliber hockey that kept the spectators on the edge of their seats with almost 40% of all games ending in a tie or within one goal!

The Millbrook U15 LL (Local League) team brought home the first championship with what could be classed as one of the most exciting ends to a hockey game in recent memory.  Playing the first placed Le Froy Ice Breakers, Millbrook found themselves tied 2-2 after regular three periods and an over time of 3 on 3 hockey period as they entered the shootout. Both young goalies put on an impressive show and battled back and forth until Millbrook’s Brendan Dykman made a timely save on Le Froy while and Rhyse Chambers scored the game winner for Millbrook making it 3-2!

The win would not have been possible without the collective effort by the entire team: Abby Whittington, Brooke Williams, Ben Van Dijk, Emerson Stinson, Rhyse Chambers, Noah Schonemann, Josh Palewandrem, Blake Major, Adam Stephen, Carter Lang, Kieran Osborne, Chase Stevens, Lee Dodds, Issac Parnell, Brendan Dykman and the coaching staff of Mark Bannerman, Mike Lang, Dan Stephen, Kayleigh Chambers.

The Millbrook U18 LL Green team had a very busy weekend themselves playing 5 games over 3 days. With a 4-2 win over Honeywood on Friday afternoon Millbrook Green was looking for a strong showing Saturday as the team hoped to qualify for the semi-finals. Their mindset was clear with 8-2 win over Faustina and a 5-1 win over Lambeth, the semi-final game was set on Sunday morning against a very strong Niagara on the Lake team. If you asked the parents after this game Sunday morning, many would have said it was a little to close for comfort, but again Millbrook Green played strong to the buzzer and squeaked out a 3-2 win.

In a community like Millbrook, we are lucky enough to have a thriving hockey association. At U18, there are enough players for two local league teams. The ultimate goal of both U18 Millbrook Green and U18 Millbrook White is to meet in the finals to play for the championship against their friends in their home tournament. After an equally impressive set of round robin games, Millbrook White also qualified for a semi-finals game on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, the White team ran up against a strong Caledonia team who, after tying Millbrook White 2-2 on Saturday, simply ended up on the right side of the score. All of MDMHA congratulates U18 Millbrook white for a well-played tournament and an excellent showing.

With U18 LL Millbrook Green and Caledonia in the finals, the stage was set for what would become a nail biter of a game. Both teams played a disciplined, fast-paced game and the goalies stonewalled the shooters at every turn. It was not until 4 minutes left in the 3rd period when Dylan Tysick scored for Millbrook Green putting them ahead 1-0.  The last few minutes of play could be described as frantic as Caledonia fought hard to tie the game up while Millbrook battled to protect their lead. In the end, Millbrook Green won the game 1-0 and again everyone would agree it was a little too close for comfort.

This win would not have been possible without a complete team effort by: Sophie McLean, Aidan Bons, Zenan Pearce, Declan Hunter, Sam Cole, Duke Howard, Noah McLean, Drew McFadden, Kyle Axford, Landon Kirkwood, Budd Howard, Carson Clarke, Owen Hunter. Dylan Tysick, John Shadgett and Damen Patterson and the coaching staff of Chris McLean, Dwayne Dunlop, Jamie Cole, Mike Clarke, Liam Pearce

Unfortunately in sports, all teams don’t make it as far as they would like, but that does not detract from the effort and dedication of the players and coaching staff who volunteer their time to these teams. The Millbrook U15 Rep team and the Millbrook U18 Rep teams both found themselves one win short of reaching the semi-finals in their divisions.   MDMHA is very proud of their efforts and how they represented Millbrook hockey this weekend.

Thank you to all of the teams that participated and traveled to be with us this weekend. Best of luck in your respective playoff series!

By Chris McLean

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