ANAF Bantams claim gold at Clinton tourney
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Dec 09, 2010  |  Vote 0    0

ANAF Bantams claim gold at Clinton tourney

St. Marys Journal Argus

CLINTON - The ANAF ‘BB' Bantams claimed top honours in the 31st annual Clinton Optimists tournament here Nov. 27-28.Greg Smale's squad went undefeated in their march to the gold. In three games, the Rock allowed just one goal.The tournament started Saturday morning with St. Marys facing BCH (Bayfield, Clinton, Hensall).As soon as the puck dropped, both teams demonstrated their speed and physical play. Late in the period, goalie Andy O'Connell came up with a tremendous save on a BCH breakaway.The smaller ice surface in Clinton seemed to work in favour of the BCH team. The St. Marys forwards couldn't use their speed to dominate play, and the physical play of BCH drew the Rock into several penalties.In the second period, Rhett Lucas finally opened the scoring. With a nice deke left, and then to his back-hand, the speedy winger lifted the puck top shelf, opposite corner. Assists went to Greg Swan and Braiden Weston.Play continued at a hectic pace, with both teams giving no quarter. The spectators were getting their money's worth of excitement as there were more than a few odd-man rushes by both teams. Both goaltenders got a good workout.The second Rock goal came after Lucas took a great pass from Weston. The BCH defence tried to steer Lucas to the outside, but Lucas cut hard to his right and fired a solid wrist shot to the opposite side of the net as the goalie was moving with the play.The third period was really chippy, with lots of late hits as BCH tried desperately to change the flow of the game in their favour. St Marys was undeterred in their offence as they peppered the goalie with their big guns from the point.The third St. Marys goal came off the stick of Lucas, who was standing on the doorstep and fired it behind the goalie from a sharp angle. It gave Lucas his hat trick.The fourth Rock goal came from Braiden Weston, who was standing in the slot. Assists went to Lucas and Derek Van De Walle. St. Marys' fifth goal, shorthanded again, seemed to take place in slow motion as Greg Swan ‘walked' around two defencemen and fired a solid wrist shot into the net to complete the scoring.O'Connell earned the shutout in the 5-0 victory.In their second game, the ANAF Bantams won an uneventful game, 3-0, against Goderich. Goals were provided by Greg Swan unassisted, Kyle Spence from Jamie Gibson and Austin Brookshaw, and Braiden Weston assisted by Swan.The shutout went to Mitch Blacklock.Face BCH againIn the championship game on Sunday, the ANAF Bantams faced BCH for the second time. The first meeting was all St. Marys, but it would not be so easy this time as BCH had something to prove.Less than three minutes into the game, St. Marys took a penalty and BCH made no mistake'putting the first goal on the scoreboard. Play was fast and physical.The second period started with both teams trying to dominate the other in four-on-four action. More penalties are handed out and St. Marys ended up with a couple of powerplays'including a 5-on-3 man advantage.Despite aggressive play by the ANAF forwards, who sprayed the BCH goalie with shots from all angles, St. Marys couldn't find the back of the net.A turnover by the Rock late in the second period almost gave BCH a second goal. Again, outstanding netminding by Andy O'Connell kept BCH's lead to one. The period ended with the score still 1-0 for BCH.Early in the third period, St. Marys pressed hard for the equalizer. Defenceman Nick O'Grady blasted a one-timer on net and it was deflected home by Travis Mann. St. Marys fans celebrated wildly after their team had tied the score three minutes into the frame.After a huge, game-saving toe stop by O'Connell late in regulation time, the teams went to a 10-minute overtime, featuring 4-on-4 play.Just minutes into the period, O'Grady picked up a loose puck, curled away from a BCH player and sent a nice pass to Connor Topp. Connor crossed the blue line and fired a low hard slap shot on net past a BCH defenceman and scored. Final score: 2-1 for St. Marys.ANAF notes:•Team manager Larry McLellan reports that the tournament wins put the ANAF Rock's record at 25 wins, three losses and three ties this season. The championship game broke a five-game shutout streak.Kudos to Andy O'Connell and Mitch Blacklock for some outstanding goaltending this season.•In recent Shamrock League play, the ANAF Bantams won 4-0 against the Lancers in Lambeth on Friday, Nov. 19. Austin Brookshaw fired two goals (one shorthanded) and singles came off the sticks of Kyle Spence and Connor Topp. Mitch Blacklock earned the shutout.On Monday, Nov. 22, the ANAF Rock played Mt. Brydges, defeating the Cougars 3-0 on goals by Austin Brookshaw, Braiden Weston and Lucas Spence.On Wednesday, Nov. 24, ANAF crew played Port Stanley at home, winning 5-0. Goals were provided by Greg Swan, with two, Kyle Spence, defenceman Will Thomson and Rhett Lucas. On Wed., Dec. 1, the ANAF Bantams tied the visiting East Lambton Eagles 1-1. The following night in Forest, the team edged Lambton Shores 3-2.The Rock is currently in first place in the SHL standings.

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