Waterloo Minor Atom MD Wolves are Tier 1 Alliance Champions!, News, Minor Atom, MD, 2018-2019 (Waterloo Minor Hockey)

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Waterloo Minor Atom MD Wolves are Tier 1 Alliance Champions!
Submitted By James Thompson on Sunday, April 14, 2019
The boys from Waterloo have returned home from London as Alliance Champions!  This concludes what has no doubt been a banner year (literally, the boys have 4 banners to show for it!)...

The action got started on Friday morning against our cross town rivals.  Although the Wolves often scored first this season, this tournament put them in a different and uncomfortable position: they were scored on first and had to claw their way back in 4 of their 5 games.  Game 1 against the Jr Rangers Red saw the scoring open with 4:58 remaining in first when a lapse in defensive coverage caused a rebound to find its way to a Kitchener stick and in the net.  The Wolves would respond at 4:18 in the second with a D to D pass in the offensive end from Nate B to Dexter V, who then hit Lucas T with a pass who buried it into the net.  The game would present many opportunities back and forth, but it would be Gavin A at the 10 minute mark in the third who would grab the puck in the neutral zone and skate it in to score the game winner.  Josh C would earn the W in net for the Wolves in this one, making some great saves along the way.

That evening, the boys would head back to the rink to face the West London Hawks, their first meeting of the season.  The first period was a tight battle, with chances on both sides, but nothing would materialize.  At 4:21 in the second, a pass from Cruz B to Lucas T would end up on Wyatt N’s stick who would skate it down and score on a difficult angle shot.   The two teams would battle it out, with the Wolves putting shot after shot on goal, but to no avail, at 9:14 in the third, the Hawks would score one and the game would end in a tie.

The next morning the boys would play the London Bandits, the winner of which would earn a bye to the championship game.  This would turn out to be an uncharacteristically high scoring game, at least by our standards.  The Bandits would get the ball rolling with 9:35 in the second from “infamous number 7”, who seemed to  be in all places at once – an impressive player, who would have been a joy to watch play if he wasn’t playing against us!  At 4:18 in the second, Lucas T would get a breakaway, and Callum T would follow close behind in pursuit of the net.  Lucas would get stopped but Callum would find the rebound  from the goal line and wrap it in to tie the game.  With 36 seconds remaining in the second, number 7 would strike again, putting the Bandits ahead 2-1.  The Wolves would then pour on the pressure in the third, controlling the pace, with Gavin A finding the back of the net at 12:52, assisted by Ryan P.  Despite relentless pressure, the bandits would score a go ahead goal at 5:54.  Knowing they needed a win to get the bye, the Wolves would pull their goalie with just under 3 minutes to play.  A strange play at center would result in the referee awarding an automatic goal with the call being a thrown stick on a breakaway.   With the goalie still pulled, the Wolves would manage to net one back by Wyatt N from Cruz B, but the game would end in a 4-3 loss.  This would then set up a re-match against the West London Hawks in the Semi-final.

Since they finished ahead of the Hawks in the standings, this gave the Wolves the home ice advantage, which the coaches used to their advantage to make line matching easier (just kidding, this is 9 year old hockey!)  The Hawks would come out hot, and the Wolves looked noticeably tired.  West London would put shot after shot on Sam M in the first period and in fact, for the first time this season, the Wolves did not record a single shot in the first period.   It was an all-hands-on-deck scramble until 1:42 remaining in the first when the Hawks would get one the board.  The Wolves would regain some composure in the second with a goal from Gavin A assisted by Luca S.  Unfortunately, at only 25 seconds into the third, the Hawks would put another one in to take the lead.  The Hawks would continue to out-shoot the Wolves and it seemed like the momentum just couldn’t be turned.  With about 2 minutes remaining, the mood on the Wolves bench started to change – we had controlled the puck and put a couple good shots on their goalie, and the Wolves started to pour it on.  With 30 seconds remaining a Waterloo time-out was called so that coaches could organize what would be the most important face-off of the game.  With the extra attacker on, the six Wolves would line up determined to bring the game to overtime.  The Wolves would win the draw and send the puck to the net.  A scramble would ensue and Gavin A would end up banging it in the net with 26 seconds remaining to force the game into OT.  The Wolves, full of confidence, would return true to form and battle hard against the Hawks, playing their best hockey of the game.  At 8:25, Lucas T would station himself out front of the net and grab a loose puck and put the game home for the Wolves!  The story of this game was undoubtedly Sam M who was peppered with shots, making at least 4 incredible game savers.  In the dressing room he was given a rousing round of applause from all the players and coaches, never have we relied that much on our goalie to keep us alive!

 This would set the stage for a re-match against the London Bandits in the Championship game.    The Bandits would put intense pressure on the Wolves in the first period, but Josh C would turn all shots aside.  The second period saw the Wolves begin to show their fangs, but also to no avail, neither goalie would give up an inch.  Unfortunately, with only 26 seconds played in the third period, that darn number 7 would strike again, deeking and weaving and finding the back of the net.  The Wolves did their best to try to generate offense but had trouble turning the momentum their way.  Finally with 6:59 remaining, Callum T would charge the neutral zone and hit the O-zone at full speed, beating both D and putting a shot over the pads into the far side of the net.  This goal came assisted by Lucas T and Ryan T.  The mood on the bench was ecstatic.  The boys would pour it on and end the championship in thrilling fashion – with 8 seconds remaining, Wyatt N would put a shot on net, and Ryan P would pick it up and bury it, earning the Wolves the championship!  Like the game before, the Wolves would be out-shot, and would be bailed out again and again by stellar goaltending from Josh C!  The Wolves were blessed this year with two fantastic goaltenders, and so accordingly, they were called upon to receive the championship banner for the Wolves.  Sam M and Josh C, you can now finally rest those nerves, your job is done – you both have come a long way this season - from all the coaches and players: you rock!

To our defence: Heath, Ryan T, Nohl, Nate, Dexter, Cruz – your hard work this season set the stage for many goals (and you scored a bunch yourself!), and your determination prevented many goals against us.  You are definitely 6 of the finest!

To our forwards: Terry, Luca, Eason, Wyatt, Gavin, Ryan P, Callum, Lucas, Alec – you stood up to the test – help your D with the same aggressiveness as you’d use to score a goal.  Of course, it was also fun watching you score as well!

3 tournament championships, the Regular Season title, the Division Championship and now the Alliance Championship.  It’s no doubt been a successful year, but I think the camaraderie among the boys, and the incredible amount of development of each of them this season is the most important thing we’ve accomplished.  On behalf of the entire coaching staff, it’s been a pleasure working with these boys this season.

-Coach James

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