Strong Team Defense, League Rivals, Help Propel Minor PeeWee AE's to Nations Cup Championship, News, Minor PeeWee, AE (Guelph Minor Hockey)

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Strong Team Defense, League Rivals, Help Propel Minor PeeWee AE's to Nations Cup Championship
Submitted By Tim Davison on Wednesday, December 4, 2019
On the weekend the Minor PeeWee AE's traveled to Detroit Michigan to participate in the Nations Cup tournament. The tournament pairs Canadian teams against those from the US in a battle of the countries with the most points scored on Championship Sunday taking home the trophies. In an odd twist, the Gryphons were paired with league rivals Milton White and Blue, along with the West Niagara Flyers.

Friday and Saturday the teams completed the round-robin seeding portion of the tournament that would align teams for Championship Sunday. The Gryphons started play early on Friday morning with a match against the Columbus Capitals, the team that would end up being the US's #1 seed on Sunday. The game was tight-checking from the start, and while the Capitals got out to a 1-0 lead in the first, the Gryphons answered back with 2 goals in the second period to take a 2-1 lead into the third. However, that lead would evaporate quickly as the Gryphons struggled with penalties, and the Capitals eventually scored the game tying goal mid-way through the period while on a man advantage. The game would end tied 2-2.

Friday afternoon, the boys took to the ice against the Cincinnati Swords. This game saw the Gryphons get out to an early 2-0 lead in the game that they wouldn't relinquish. While the teams exchanged chances at both ends of the ice, neither team could create much sustained pressure, and the scoring chances were quickly turned away. The game ended 2-0 for Guelph with Big Max Heroux getting the shutout.

Saturday saw the Gryphons play some of their best hockey of the year, dominating their opponents at both ends of the ice and outscoring them by a combined 16-0 in the pair of games. The morning game against Team Ohio Black ended in a 6-0 win for with Gryphons with Lucas Jones picking up the shutout. In the afternoon with Big Max back in net, the boys posted a 10-0 win. In both games the defensive core of Cian Duffy, Oliver Fletcher, Michael Kusiak, Chase Roffel, Pistol Pete Schlitt, and Vid Peteranic played stellar hockey. Pinning the opponents in their end with aggressive pinches, and ensuring that anytime they broke out of their zone, quick sticks and great body positioning limited serious threats. 

After three consecutive shut-outs and some big offensive outputs, the Gryphons ended round-robin play in second place for the Canadian teams, and set up a match-up against the tough second place finisher from the US side, the squad from Cincinnati, on Championship Sunday. By the time the boys hit the ice on Sunday morning, team Canada had earned the maximum of 3 points in the first two games, meaning a win would secure the Nations Cup for Canada. 

The final game was another tight contest between the teams. The first two periods saw back and forth action, with great scoring opportunities on both ends and exceptional goal tending, but no scoring. Early in the third period, the Gryphons got on the board when a puck was fired from behind the net that deflected off the Sword's goalie's stick and bounced into the back of the net. That goal spurred Cincinnati to quickly up its game. Less than a minute later, off a broken play in the neutral zone, the Swords player streaked down the right board and fired a shot that handcuffed the Guelph goalie. From there, Jones and the Gryphon defense shut the door but our aggressive offense efforts were similarly turned away by a strong Cincinnati team, leading to a 1-1 draw. 

That draw put the Gyphon's and their families in the odd situation of having to cheer for their rivals from Milton (White team) to close out the tournament for Team Canada. The Milton  game, which was running only a few minutes behind the Guelph's, was 1-0 for Milton heading into the final seconds, when their opponents from Columbus were awarded a penalty shot. The Milton goalie shut the door to clinch the Cup with all the Team Canada families watching.

It was an exciting weekend for the boys and the families as many of them got to wear team Canada colours for the first time. They went undefeated in the tournament, averaging over 4 goals per game, and showing their commitment to team defense, amazingly finishing the five game tournament with only 3 goals against.

The scoring for the games were as follows:

Game 1:
McNamee, (Markwood, Peteranac )
Taylor (McNamee, Markwood)

Game 2:
Smith (Davison, Laskowski)
Markwood (Taylor)

Game 3:
Davison (Smith, Laskowski)
Wilson (Byard, Fletcher)
Taylor (McNamee, Markwood)
Davison (Smith)
Taylor (Markwood)
Wilson (Byard)
 
Game 4:
Markwood (McNamee, Taylor)
Beynon (Byard)
Wilson (Beynon, Kusiak)
Smith (Kusiak Laskowski)
Wilson (Byard)
Markwood (Kusiak, McNamee)
McNamee (Taylor, Kusiak)
Byard (Beynon)
Davison (Smith)
Markwood (Unassissted)

Game 5:
Wilson (Byard)
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