Atom AA Buffalo North American Cup Champions, News (Guelph Minor Hockey)

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AA - Atom - Atom AA Buffalo North American Cup Champions
Submitted By Scott Biser on Sunday, December 10, 2017
The Guelph AA Atom Gryphons capped off an undefeated weekend by claiming the North American Cup Atom AA Championship with a 3-1 victory over the Northumberland Nighthawks in the driving snow at the Riverworks outdoor rinks in downtown Buffalo on Sunday afternoon.   It was the third straight tournament that the Gryphons had reached the finals and they were determined to bring home the Cup this time around.  Winning outside in the snow made the championship all the more memorable.

As they had the entire weekend, the Gryphons came out flying in the final.   Hard forechecking 1:37 into the contest led to Ryder Burns feeding Olan Norton out front and Norton made no mistake firing the puck into the back of the net for a 1-0 Gryphon lead.  Northumberland came right back and banged in a rebound of their own just 1:45 later and the the first period ended with the two teams deadlocked in a 1-1 tie.

With 6:35 remaining in the second period,  defenseman Nathan Schlitt forced a turnover in the neutral zone and zipped a cross ice pass to defense partner Adam Smith.  Smith quickly fed a pass to centerman Koen Smith who was flying up the middle and Koen hit the top of the circles and ripped a wrist shot into the top corner of the net for the eventual game winner.   The score stood 2-1 in favour of the Gryphons after two periods of play.

Guelph got some much needed insurance with 10:24 remaining in the contest when Ozzie Johnson found Tanner Bothwell in front who snapped a shot on goal.  Bothwell was stopped but Landon Mitchell was sitting on the doorstep and calmly tucked the rebound into the far corner for a 3-1 Gryphon lead.  For the rest of the game,  the Gryphons ground down the Northumberland squad with relentless checking and constant puck pressure.   As the final buzzer sounded, bedlam ensued as the Gryphon bench stormed onto the ice to congratulate goaltender Ale Gruosso, sticks and gloves flying.  The victory was even more special as less than five minutes later on the adjoining ice surface,   Head Coach Tom Bothwell (father of forward Tanner Bothwell) and his Peewee AA squad captured their own championship and both teams took to the ice together to celebrate their championships.

In Sunday morning's semi final game, the Gryphons completely dominated North Toronto by a score of 5-0.   Parker Shany was sensational in picking up the shutout victory.   Guelph was in complete control, leading 3-0 after the first period,  4-0 after the second, and adding one more in the third for a 5-0 win. Goal scorers where Logan Biser, Landon Mitchell, Zach McKight, Tanner Bothwell, and Ryder Burns.

The old proverb that Defense Wins Championships certainly rang true this weekend as the Gryphons allowed a meager 7 goals in 6 games.  Goaltenders Ale Gruosso and Parker Shany were the team's backbone the entire weekend.   Guelph's Big 6 on defense of Max Grimwood, Zac Conroy, Adam Smith, Nathan Schlitt, Noah Milne, and Noah Savery were aggressive at both ends of the rink and moved the puck smartly the entire weekend.   Guelph displayed offensive depth as all nine forwards contributed at least one goal during the seven games and their relentless forechecking wore down the opposing teams.   Guelph's forward group is made up Zach McKnight, Logan Biser, Ryder Burns, Koen Smith, Matthew Stam, Olan Norton, Landon Mitchell, Tanner Bothwell, and Oscar Johnson.

Congratulations go out to Head Coach Scott Biser and his assistants Bobby McKnight, Kane Geldhart, Dan Conroy, and Matt Shany for a fantastic job this weekend and the entire season.

There is no rest for the weary as the Gryphons head right back down the QEW on Monday night to battle the Niagara Falls Flyers.

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