A Playoff Quest, News (Elmvale Minor Hockey)

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Atom Rep - A Playoff Quest
Submitted By Trista Anderson on Sunday, February 3, 2019
The last half of the Atom Reps season has been a disappointing one for sure, with the boys having minimum success on the score board.  It has been difficult as parents to watch our boys knowing the amount of talent they all possess.  However, the hockey gods are not always on your side.  You have to wonder why that is…what lesson will they learn from this?  I am a firm believer that hockey teaches kids so much more than “Just How to Play Hockey”.  Maybe the most important lesson is to learn what it means to be a team.  Maybe it is about learning that you don’t need to do everything yourself, that it is ok to depend on someone else.  

And maybe, just maybe…it is learning that your teams success, is often more important, than your own.  Sidney Crosby said it best, “…In this jersey, I promise to play for the logo on the front, not the name on the back.”

As the end of the regular season came to a close, it was very apparent the boys would end up playing Penetang in the first round.  Now our record was pretty solid against Penetang and the coaches felt good about the match up.  They were a good team, but the coaches knew our boys were better.  Our first game was at home and there was no shortage of cheering.  Hopes were high, but #13 from Penetang looked like he flew, instead of skated, down the ice.  Our boys soon became lost, they forgot what the coaches had been telling them all season, “Play Like a Team”.  As the minutes ticked by and the game came to a close, we tentatively glanced at the scoreboard, only to see the score was 9-3 in favour of Penetang.  The boys had a week to recover and pull their socks up, so they could show Penetang what they were made of.

Game #2 of the series came with much trepidation.  When the call came in that Braxton, our fearless goalie was out with the flu, the mood in the stands was hesitant to say the least.  Not only were we down our goalie, but Bryson was suited up and ready to defend our net, which meant we were down a defenseman.  Gavin was called up to help us out and Aiden was asked to take a spot to replace Bryson as our 4th D-Man.  The whistle blew, the ref dropped the puck and all the parents held their breaths waiting to see what would happen.  But as the minutes began to go by and we all remembered to breathe,  we saw the shift in the boys.  That spark, that hunger to win, but mostly it was the need to defend Bryson.  By the end of the first period it was 0-0 and you could see the momentum building In the boys.  The second period began with a goal from Garrett assisted by Evan and the stands erupted, but Penetang came back with one of their own.    Gavin passed the puck to Aiden and once again we were in the lead, but that didn’t last long.  Penetang got a penalty shot and it flew in.  We were bound for overtime.  Aiden got the game winning goal and all the boys jumped on Bryson.  They knew that if Bryson hadn’t played like he did, they wouldn’t be celebrating.

Game #3 of the series had a different kind of energy for sure.  Braxton was still out with the flu, but the boys had confidence that Bryson would hold them in.  We as parents had seen a different group of boys on that ice.  They were in this to win it.  Elmvale was first to score with a goal from Garrett.  Bryson was doing all he could to keep the team in the game.  Jack got our second goal with a pass from Jamie and with 59 seconds left in the first, Gavin scored with a pass from Evan.  With only 40 seconds left Penetang got one in.  It was mayhem out there.  The boys were throwing themselves in front of the pucks.  There was two penalties called on Elmvale, but our boys proved that was no match for them.  In the third period Penetang managed to tie it up.  Overtime was once again in our sights.  We had some good chances in overtime and Bryson was on fire.  Even with Penetang pulling their goalie, we ended the game in a tie.  We were now even with 3 points each. 

Game #4 was back in our Home Barn and Braxton was good to return to his net.  The boys knew that they needed to win this game; whoever was walking away with the victory would definitely have the upper hand.  Braxton was on top of his game and no one would have ever known he had been sick.  The boys didn’t back down either; they kept the pressure on and continued to play physical.  Jamie got a shorthanded goal and that seemed to fire up the boys even more.  There was chaos in front of Penetang’s net, with Spencer, Cooper and Jamie working tirelessly to get the puck in.  With Jamie lying on his stomach, he managed to hit it in and the stands erupted.  Penetang scored one goal in the first and one goal in the second, but they were no match for our boys.  Cooper took the puck from a scramble at the blue line, carried it along the Penetang bench to assist Bryson in the final goal.  These kids were hungry for success and it showed.

Game #5 found us back in Penetang, but it didn’t matter, all we needed was to tie the game and the series was ours.  The first period was intense, with shots on both nets and the goaltenders proving why they had the job.  In the second period, we all watched as Spencer took the puck and raced for the net.  Just as he was about to shoot the puck, he was hauled down and was hurt.  A penalty shot was declared, but Spencer was in no shape to take it.  The Coach called on Bryson and he didn’t disappoint.  Coyotes 1- Penetang 0.  The refs called a penalty on us and we were all biting our nails, but as if the boys knew they needed to reassure us, Jamie stole the puck and shot it in the net.  A beautiful shorthanded goal.  On to the third period and our chants became louder and the energy in the Arena was buzzing.  With 14:14 left in the third Spencer passed the puck to Bryson and in it went.  Not long after that, with 11:14 left in the third, Cooper got the puck up to Bryson in front of the net and Bryson scored again.  A beautiful hat trick for Bryson!  The rest of the third period was filled with amazing saves from Braxton, insane pressure by our forwards and selfless work by our defenseman.  In the end, the boys were victorious and they knew that they had done something truly incredible.

The thing about hockey is that we always mention the goals and the assists, but I feel like it is important to recognize the team as a whole.  Yes it is important to score goals, yes it is important to have a goalie that is on fire, but it is also all the little plays in between the scoring and the saves, that wins hockey games.  It is the physical play, the puck steals, the grit and determination, the sacrificing of your own body that makes a game truly great.  Aiden, Braxton, Brodie, Bryson, Carson, Carter, Cooper, Evan, Garrett, Gavin, Jack, Jamie, Liem and Spencer; each one of these boys deserve credit for the wins.  Each one of these boys brought their heart and soul to each and every game.

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