Atom AAA Update, News (Guelph Minor Hockey)

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2017-2018 AAA - Atom - Atom AAA Update
Submitted By Joe Harris on Monday, December 4, 2017
The Atom AAA Gryphs played in the Hamilton Jr Bulldogs Backspin Classic Tournament this past weekend. After a first game loss to the host Bulldogs 4-2 on friday morning, the Gryphs responded with 3 straight round-robin victories to move them into a semi-final match against  the Waterloo Wolves on sunday!


On friday morning the host Bulldogs had a little more fire power than the Gryphs as they skated away with a 4-2 win. After an opening frame goal off the stick of Brady Smith, the Bulldogs responded with 2 goals of their own early in the 2nd period. Trenton Harris of the Gryphons bulged the twine on the PP off a beauty passing play from Sam Black and Vincent Piccone late in the second to tie the game going into the third period.
Unfortunately the Bulldogs scored 10 seconds into the final stanza, then added an insurance marker mid-way through the final frame to separate the teams by 2 goals. Kurtis Abbey played solid turning away some good scoring opportunities by the Bulldogs throughout the game.
Later that afternoon, the Gryphs found their offensive fire power and rifled 7 goals past the Wolves from Central Ontario. The Gryphs managed to shoot 34 shots on goal and 5 different Gryphs scored goals in the process. Alex Rossi began the Gryphs on-slot with a marker near the end of the first period. Trenton Harris and Sam Black added goals in the second period while Owen Power sniped a goal in the third period as well, along with another goal by Alex Rossi. Nathan Briggs rounded out the scoring in the third period for the Gryphons with the sixth and seventh goals of the game for the club. Both Briggs and Harris each had 3 points in the game with the Gryphons solid blueline core chipping in with 4 points as well. Ethan Lawrence had a solid game between the pipes turning aside 16 Wolves shots.
Saturday proved to be a big day for the Gryphs as they toppled the Buffalo Saints in the morning 5-1 off 2 goals from Sam Black, and single markers from Nathan Briggs, Trenton Harris and Brady Smith. Kurtis Abbey stopped 14 of 15 shots off the Buffalo sticks. Again the Gryphon team defense proved to be too much for the opposing club, foiling many offensive attempts before they were even able to transpire. 
Saturday night's game against the opposing Seaway Valley Rapids proved to be one of the club's best performances of the year. The Gryphs backchecked, forechecked and defended like it was their profession, and managed to score some key goals at the right times to send the other club packing! Nathan Briggs opened the scoring in the first period while on the PP, but the Rapids responded with a PP goal of their own before the period ended. Sam Black scored in the second period to pull the Gryphs ahead again, 2-1. Then in the third period, another 2 goals by Nathan Briggs, sent the Rapids down the river without a paddle as the Gryphs pulled ahead for good on route to a 4-2 victory. Briggs finished with a 'hatty' on the night with Harris assisting on all 3 of his goals. Alex Rossi finished with 2 assists of his own. Ethan Lawrence made some superlative saves throughout the game and again the Gryphon defense played solid and managed to move the puck up ice quickly to the Gryphon forwards. This earned the Gryphs a spot in the final 4 of the Atom AAA tourney and a chance to play for the championship on sunday.
The boys matched up on Sunday against the first place Wolves of Waterloo from the other Atom AAA division. Unfortunately, this contest did not start out like the other earlier games for the Gryphs as the Wolves took advantage of some sloppy play by the Gryphons and pulled ahead 2-0 to the end of the first. Although tired and a little depleted, the Gryphons showed fantastic character as they stormed back to tie the game at 2 before the end of the second. Alex Rossi scored on a breakaway on a great feed from linemate Griffin Mackie to pull within 1 goal at 11:50 of the second. Then Vincent Piccone blasted a wrister along the ice from the blueline that foiled the Wolves goalie just over 2 minutes later. The Wolves however responded with another 2 goals in the third to pull ahead for good and added an empty-netter for good measure. Kurtis Abbey made 26 saves in the contest, a few of them highlight-reel saves, to keep the contest close.
Although the tourney didn't end as hoped, the boys played extremely well and showed great maturity and perseverance, especially after dropping the opening game of the weekend.
On behalf of the staff and players, I'd like to thank the great family members and supporters that cheered on the Gryphons so well (and with lots of noise!) during the weekend.
Next action for the team is wednesday in Burlington in SCTA league action.


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