From Silver Stick Finals into Playoffs!, News (Owen Sound Minor Hockey Group)

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2018-19 REP - Bantam Major - From Silver Stick Finals into Playoffs!
Submitted By Terry Koshan on Sunday, January 20, 2019
The Kunkel Bus Lines Major Bantams were in Port Huron Michigan last weekend and started what is hopefully a long playoff run this weekend with two games on the road.

The previous weekend saw the Major Bantam Jr. Attack battle their way to the International Silver Stick championship game vs the Cambridge Hawks. They met the Hawks their opening game in a tight back and forth matchup that saw your home town Kunkel squad skate away with an empty net 3-1 victory. 
Many would agree it was a fitting final with the two top teams ready to tangle and battle for Gold.
It was much the same, a tight match, but this time Cambridge would find the empty net a couple times in the remaining minute eighteen to send the Jr. Attack home with Silver.

Keep your heads high gentlemen, it was a long run, and you represented yourselves, city, and Canada proud.

A rumour was floating around the tournament that it might be the first time in the 57 year history that the same team was in both the PeeWee and Bantam championship game. Congratulations to the Harold Sutherland Major PeeWee team on their gold medal performance!

With a couple of players out due to injury and some others healing up, the Major Bantam Jr. Attack looked ahead to the playoffs! Finishing the regular season with a record of 25-2-1 put them in first place and a pool with Guelph, Halton Hills, and Woolwich. As we all know, the slate is wiped clean, and playoffs are the beginning of a new season, underdogs don't really exist, and everyone is hungry on the quest for glory.

The journey started with a Friday night road game down highway 6 to meet the Guelph Gryphons. Guelph showed Halton Hills they were ready and downed them 5-0 in their playoff opener, but surely they knew the Owen Sound Jr. Attack rolling into town was likely to be a bigger test?

Guelph opened the scoring on a controversial power play goal that saw the linesmen conference with the official and in turn put the home team up one. Owen Sound would answer before the first buzzer and with two periods remaining, the score was even. 

Guelph bulged the twine on a double deflection through traffic, while Owen Sound was unable to light the lamp in the middle frame. Guelph 2, Kunkel Bus Line Major Bantam Jr. Attack 1, with 15 minutes to go.

It was then Guelph who could not light the lamp, and the Attack that would pot one in the third period resulting in a 2-2 tie after regulation. Overtime it is !

Early in extra time, Guelph managed to break free and after being stopped on the initial scoring attempt, they were able to hammer home the second effort.

The good news was their fate is still entirely in their own hands without the need for help from any other teams. And on that note, they boarded the bus Sunday morning for Acton where they would tangle with the Halton Hills Thunder. 

Due to some transportation delays, the boys had little time to warmup, get dressed, and prepare. The fasted game on ice has no room for excuses and the Major Bantams were ready to bring it!

The visiting Owen Sound team totally dominated the opening 3 minutes and saw Halton scramble to ice the puck several times. I guess it was home town luck that the puck never found its way over the line, but the Attack continued to push. With the Attack applying some good power play pressure, the luck continued for the hometown Thunder on a short handed breakaway that allowed them to open the scoring. Down one after one, but with so many positive things to focus on, the Jr. Attack did not panic. 

They certainly ran into a hot glove as the Thunder goaltender robbed the visitors more than once. Finally, on another power play, the Jr. Attack were able to get the puck on net through traffic and tie the game at 1.

With everyone now on the edge of their seats, we were once again in a tight game with 15 minutes remaining. It was special teams that accounted for the first two goals, and that trend continued with Owen Sound playing short handed with less then 5 minutes to go. 
Halton could not handle the pressure, and with a man down, Spender Davidson and Cole Gowan completed a bang-bang play from behind the goal line to score the go ahead goal. But, was it enough!?

The Thunder pulled their goalie with well over two minutes remaining to apply some pressure of their own, but Owen Sound could not find the open yawning cage. And the good news is, the home town could not find the back of the net either. 

Phew, with a sigh of relief, the Kunkel Bus Line Major Bantam Jr. Attack improved their OMHA preliminary round playoff record to 1-1.

Come on out to the Rec Centre next Saturday January 26th, at 3:15pm to watch a Halton Hills Thunder rematch.

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