The Lambton Junior Sting Peewee AAA participated in the Shanahan AAA Warrior Tournament in Toronto over the Nov. 9 -11 weekend and put forward a strong performance in representing the Lambton AAA hockey organization. The tournament would feature 30 teams from across North America, including many of the top teams in Ontario as well as several of the top ranked teams in the United States.
The Sting would open the tournament with 2 games on Friday. The first game would be played against a strong Mississauga Senators team. The first period would be fairly uneventful with no scoring, but the Senators would produce a couple quality scoring chances. Jacob Knowles would stand tall in the Lambton net to keep things even. Mississauga would continue to pressure in the 2nd period and would score 2 quick goals to jump out to a 2 – 0 lead. The Sting would finally start to bring some pressure into the Senator zone and Cameron Rombouts would strip a Senator player of the puck behind the net and score an unassisted goal to narrow the margin to 2 – 1. Shortly after, Curtis Marks was at the end of a long shift and somehow found the energy to split the Ds on the turnover to fight his way to the net and he buried a low wrist shot to tie the game up at 2.The third period would produce no further scoring and the game would end in a 2 – 2 tie. The Senators would later move on to eventually win the tournament. Unfortunately, the team suffered a big loss when Cameron Rombouts hurt his shoulder in the second part of the 3rd period and was not able to return for the rest of the game or tournament due to the severity of his injury.
On Friday night Lambton would battle things out with the Southern Tier Admirals. The Admirals would jump out to a 1 – 0 first period lead and seemed to have more jump to their game than the Sting in the first period. The Sting would tie things up in the 2nd period with Cameron Adam knocking in a shot from close range with Josh Vale picking up the assist and the game would head into the 3rd period tied 1 – 1. In the 3rd period the Admirals would once again pick up the goal to take a 2 – 1 lead. The Sting would battle back hard looking for the equalizer. With about 6 minutes left to play, Lambton would go on the power play and Lucas Knowles would fire in a hard shot from the right wing on a nice feed from Alec Trusler. This game would end tied at 2.
On day two of the tournament, the Sting were matched up against the South Central Coyotes, a game the boys really needed to win in order to keep their chances of making it to the quarter finals alive.
The Sting started things out really strong, dictating the play and creating quite a few good scoring chances. It seems like just a matter of time before one of those chances would materialize. It finally did when Josh Vale came out from the corner and took a nice backhander which was saved, but fortunately it hit a defensemens skate and ended up in the back of the net, assisted by Curtis Marks and Lucas Knowles. This 1-0 score would continue through the period mostly due to our defensive corp. executing things like pinching in the offensive zone and reducing space in the defensive zone.
In the second period the team had a 5 on 3 powerplay but it was reduced to a 5 on 4 after we got a penalty ourselves. Nothing was produced from this man advantage. Shortly after however, Cameron Adam started a breakout with a pass to Dante Fuoco who relayed it on to Vale who finished the play with his second goal of the game to put the team up 2-0. The score remained unchanged even after a clear breakaway opportunity by the Coyotes, thanks to Jakob Knowles who made a great save.
The third period saw the Sting again dominating most of the play, however, a small hiccup defensively cost the team another breakaway. But Knowles stood tall in net, making yet another great save not only off the initial shot but the second, that ringed off his mask. This seemed to fire up the team as Nic Direzze and Marks played give-n-go from behind the net which ended with a nice snap shot finding the twine, Vale also got an assist on the play. The team tried to hold the 3-0 shutout but with 1:47 left in the game the Coyotes were finally able to find a hole in the armor, finishing off the game with a 3-1 score.
In game four of the tournament, the Lambton Jr Sting Major Peewee AAA’s faced the Boston Jr Eagles Elite, ranked 9th in the US, in a win or go home game. The first period was shaping up to be a pretty even affair with both teams playing a tight checking style limiting the scoring chances. This being said though, Josh Bayne was called upon to make two point blank saves off if a rare defensive zone miscue. With just over 4 minutes left in the first period, the Eagles got the break they were looking for when a double minor head contact penalty was called on the Sting. The Eagles were able to capitalize twice on the power play to take a 2 – 0 lead into the break.
The quick paced, aggressive fore checking style returned for both teams as the second period got underway. The fast pace continued until the Lambton squad started to lose their cool and disciplined style of play. The Sting soon found themselves’ killing off a couple of 2 man disadvantages one of which was a full 4 minutes. Despite the shorthanded state, Lucas Knowles almost sniped a shorty on a break-a-way that had the Boston goaler flashing the leather and getting just enough to send the puck over the cross bar … so close!! The Lambton penalty killers certainly earn their keep in the second as they killed off 30 assessed penalty minutes in total. The Sting were able to draw within a goal on a power play of their own (sweet justice!) with 26 seconds left in the period as Dante Fuoco tipped in the point shot from Gage Langford with the other A-bird going to Lucas Knowles.
As the third period started, the Lambton boys knew they’d have to dig deep to pull out the victory and advance into the semi-finals the next day. The Eagles however had other plans as they soon regained the 2 goal margin on yet another power play. The Eagles were able to tally another power play score to take a 4 – 1 lead and ultimately the victory. The loss sent the Sting home wondering what could have been.