For the Scotiabank Major Peewee Rep. Warriors, the recipe for success was simple. Score one early, score one late, and penalty-kill like crazy in between.
Adding to that just the right amount of desperate hockey, the Warriors came away with a thrilling 3-2 victory over London Bandits on Thursday, Mar. 22 at the Rotary Complex.
The win gave Stratford a four games to one edge in the eight-point series and earned them the Alliance Bristol ‘A’ playoff title. Mark Hall’s squad now heads to the OHF championships in Mississauga, Apr. 13-15.
Warriors wasted no time getting on the board as Michael Cossey and Brody Hunt broke in on a two-on-one off the opening draw. Cossey made a nice feed through the defenceman and Hunt put Stratford ahead only 29 seconds into the game.
Warriors then played some of their most challenged hockey in the playoffs, finding themselves constantly hemmed in their own end by the determined Bandits team.
London evened the score on a powerplay at the start of the second period, but early in the third a hard dump-in by Tyreese Harrison off the end boards was misplayed by the goalie and defenceman, allowing Hunt to speed in and find the mark to make the score 2-1.
Partway through the third period, goaltender Justin Hergott made a huge save as he spun around to glove the puck mid-air from going in after it deflected up and over his head. But London evened the score again on a powerplay with only 1:25 remaining.
Facing the possibility of another trip to London, Warriors finally got desperate. On the ensuing face-off, Stratford carried the puck into the Bandits’ zone, controlling the play with several key saves at the blue line.
Minor Peewee call-up Sean Chisholm then made a great second effort behind the net as he dove for the puck and somehow managed to send it out front to Nathan Hall who scored the game and series winner with only 1.3 seconds left on the clock.
After one more puck drop at centre ice, Warriors poured onto the ice to celebrate their victory.
The entire Peewee team and coaching staff contributed to an amazing playoff run that saw them post a 10-1 record. They also congratulate the Bandits on a hard-fought series in which every single game could have gone either way.
Complete team effort
After seeing the lead in their Alliance playoff series cut to two points with a home-ice loss Saturday, Mar. 17, the Scotiabank Major Peewee Warriors travelled to London Monday, Mar. 19 and used a complete team effort to defeat the Bandits 3-0.
After a scoreless first period, Warriors hit the board in the second when Scott Chisholm scored off a beautiful feed from Brody Hunt. Tyreese Harrison also assisted.
Three minutes into the third period, the Stratford lead was increased to two when Dalton Smith connected from Justin Beuermann and Jarrett Baker. Nathan Hall chipped in a late empty-netter, with Isaiah Duiker drawing an assist.
Goalie Ryan Lay earned the shutout in net.
Upcoming: The Peewee Warriors will now travel to Mississauga April 13-15 to represent the Alliance in the Ontario Hockey Federation championships.