The Hishons Custom Tier 1 Novice Warriors brought home the silver medals from the Guelph minor hockey Powerplay tournament on the Nov. 22-24 weekend.
Warriors placed fourth after a four game round-robin on Friday and Saturday to advance to the semi-finals against the undefeated Woolwich Wildcats.
Daniel Van Straaten scored early in the first period to give Stratford a 1-0 lead, with an assist to Jack Zehr. Wildcats scored late in the period to tie it 1-1.
One minute into the second period, defenceman Haden Frayne rushed up ice and shot the puck into the top corner of the net to regain the lead. The lone assist went to Wesley Duiker.
The teams went back and forth until 2:46 in the third period when Wildcats managed to tie it 2-2. With time running out, Woolwich pressed hard in a mad scramble around the net.
With a shot headed for a certain goal, Frayne slid face first behind goalie James Hopper to block the puck. The tie sent the game into a frantic five-minute 3-on-3 overtime with neither team able to score.
In the following three-man shootout, all three Wildcats were turned aside by goalie James Hopper, while Stratford’s second shooter, Jonas Schmidt, fired the puck into the top corner for the win, sending the Hishons squad to the final.
In the final against St. Thomas Stars, the Novice Warriors fell behind 2-0 in the first period on a Stars breakaway and a powerplay near the end of the period.
Sam Jeffery scored for Warriors halfway through the second period to make it 2-1, with assists going to Ethan Martin and Avery Thurston.
St. Thomas scored their third goal early in the third period to go ahead 3-1. Although Warriors kept the Stars in their own end for most of the period and had several chances they were unable to score.
In the first game of the round-robin, Warriors tied Guelph Gryphons 1-1. The Stratford goal was scored by Ethan Martin unassisted.
In the second game, Warriors lost to St. Thomas, 2-1. The teams traded goals early in the first period. The teams were well matched, and the game went back and forth until the Stars scored with just two minutes remaining.
Avery Thurston scored the lone Stratford goal, with assists going to Liam Hill and Tyson Talsma.
The Warriors’ third game was against Whitby Wildcats and Stratford skated to a 7-0 win.
Jonas Schmidt and Daniel Van Straaten each scored twice with singles going to Thurston, Martin and Sam Jeffery.
Goalie James Hopper faced 17 to earn his second shutout of the season.
The fourth game was a 3-0 loss to Woolwich Wildcats.
Throughout the six games, every player on the team was at the top of their game. The team’s defensive play was excellent, clearing rebounds quickly and skating back hard to prevent limit breakaways.
Special mention to the team’s only goalie James Hopper, who was superb throughout the tournament, Jonas Schmidt for his end-to-end rushes in every game kept the opposition on their heels, and Owen Holloway for his fierce checking at both ends of the ice.