by Mike Ross and the bench staff
On December 4, the Kemptville Royals U15 B1 team travelled to Haliburton to participate in the 2021-2022 Regional Silver Stick. The tournament began with a tough battle and loss 3-2 against Woodville. This loss did not kill their spirit, though. Playing with heart and resilience, and never taking a shift off, the boys came back with a vengeance in their second game against Schomberg with a 2-1 win. In game three they met Douro, and came out on top with an 8-3 win, giving them a 2W-1L record in the preliminary round to finish second place, securing a spot in the semi-finals.
In the semis, the coaches knew they were in for a tough go against a strong Osgoode team. With great teamwork and ethic, along with some timely saves by Ashton Hillier, the game ended in a 0-0 tie. First OT: 3-on-3, the score remained 0-0. Nothing broke these boys. As we headed into a second, 2-on-2 overtime, neither team was giving up. Halfway through, however, Jack Dinsmore took advantage of a rare 1-on-1 opportunity. Using his speed to cut around the defencemen, and cutting in on the right, he snuck one past the goalie. It was truly an unbelievable moment for the team, as we punched our ticket to the finals. Forever a memorable hockey moment!
In the finals, they faced-off against Woodville, the team that beat them in Game 1 of the tournament. In the room before the game, the coaches spoke with the boys, focusing on communicating to them how much pride they had. They assured the team that they had complete trust, confidence, and belief in them; and that to get this far was a feat of its own.
In the final, the boys came out and took an early first period lead with a goal by Wyatt McLean. After a hard-fought second period, the score remained 1-0 for the Royals.
During the second intermission, the coaches pulled the boys aside and challenged them to bring it to another level. Right off the opening draw of the third period, defence man Jack Johnson rushed the puck and fired a hard shot that forced a rebound. Josh Repple was there to bang it home, giving the Royals a 2-0 lead. Woodville didn’t give up, however, and made it 2-1 with seven minutes to go in the third period. These boys were not going to quit. With solid play from our defence, great heads-up plays by our forwards, and amazing saves (again by Ashton Hillier), we weathered the storm from Woodville in the dying minutes of the third period to capture the Eastern Region Silver Stick Championship.
The message for the tournament from the coaches was to be disciplined; play with an edge; and leave it all on the ice. The boys truly came together, and showed true leadership and teamwork. Congrats U15 B1, on an incredible, well-played, and memorable weekend. Your coaches couldn’t be any prouder! On to Pelham Championship!
International Silver Stick Finals takes place at Pelham, ON (in Niagara area), January 6 – 9, 2022. At silverstick.org, the team will be selling commemorative 2-inch Royals pins—which are exchanged by all 48 teams at the opening ceremonies—to help raise funds for the trip.