great anticipation, the U14 A Gryphons welcomed the opportunity to get back to
tournament hockey after almost 2 years by playing in the Milton Invitational
Showdown Nov. 12 to 14. And like many Gryphons
teams this season, the U14 A team has seen significant change since the
2019-2020 season. With only slightly more than a handful of returning
players, this ‘new’ team has been working hard since tryouts to quickly knock
off the rust, learn about their new teammates, become accustomed to new systems
and welcome a new coaching staff as their representative hockey careers resume –
The 2021 Milton Invitational Showdown started off Friday with a game against Woolwich. Despite playing to a 1-1 draw against one another 5 days prior in regular season play, the Gryphons were able to start the tournament off with a 3 - 1 win. The game was fast, hard hitting with plenty of opportunities and solid goaltending at both ends of the ice.
Game 2 saw the Gryphons take down the West Niagara Flying Aces 4 - 1 on Friday evening, although outshooting their opponent 31 – 10!
Game 3 came early Saturday morning playing the tournament host team, the Milton Winterhawks. A highly spirited game with plenty of physical contact went down to the wire with the Gryphons breaking a 2 - 2 tie with a blast from the point that produced a 3 - 2 victory. This win qualified the U14 A team for a spot in Sunday's final.
Game 4, the last game of the main round robin, went Saturday afternoon vs the Oakville Rangers. Despite a previous regular season victory over Oakville, the Gryphons succumbed to a 3 - 0 loss to a seemingly improved Ranger squad.
After a team dinner and early night, the Gryphons returned to the rink for the Sunday morning final where they would play the Woolwich Wildcats for the championship. The team knew the Wildcats would come ready to play – seeking the opportunity for retribution against a tough Gryphon team.
The Gryphons dominated much of the first period taking a 1 - 0 lead. The Gryphons players skated hard, put plenty of pressure on the puck and made contact when it counted.
Woolwich regrouped and came out playing harder and more physically in the second. With action at both ends of the ice, Woolwich was able to tie and then take a 2 - 1 lead with 2 goals late in the second period.
Despite a whole-hearted attempt by the Gryphons to battle back after the 2nd period intermission, Woolwich continued to put pressure on the Gryphons, adding a PP goal early in the third and finally an empty net goal with 0:01 left in the game. End result, 4 - 1 loss for the Gryphons.
Although certainly not the results the U14 A Gryphons were hoping for, the players showed great work ethic, skill, poise and sportsmanship in this highly contested game. They will learn from this experience and continue to work together on improving key skills and game tactics to build on the success of this young season.
Great work Gryphons!