ST. CATHARINES – “It was a bittersweet moment.”
That’s how head coach Greg Smale described the Legion Midgets’ final result at the 2014 International A-E Silver Stick tournament here this past weekend.
The Midget Rock had to settle for the silver medals after losing 4-3 to Casper, Wyoming Oilers at the Seymour-Hannah complex Sunday afternoon.
“We definitely made too many mistakes and they capitalized on them,” Smale said following the game. “They were things we addressed earlier in the tournament, but they just kept popping up. It’s too bad and I hope we learned from it.
“We feel like we gave them that game.”
St. Marys opened the scoring on a first-period goal by Brett Murray. Assists went to Zack Smith and Chad Leslie.
Three second-period goals by Casper swung the momentum in the Oilers’ favour.
After Casper scored its fourth straight goal early in the third, Zack Smith made it 4-2 from Travis Mann. Less than two minutes later, Brandon Kittmer made it a one-goal game from Brady St. Louis, but the Rock could pull no closer.
“It was just costly turnovers,” coach Smale added. “It’s not how we want to play hockey. We like our defensive style, but we got away from it for awhile.
“We definitely out-chanced them. We had three breakaways, and we didn’t score on those, and hit a couple of posts. But our mistakes led directly to their goals.”
Oilers went into the game with a perfect 5-0 record, while the Legion squad was 4-1 after the round-robin and two playoff games.
Smale and his coaching staff were also finalists with a St. Marys Bantam team at the 2010 Pelham International Silver Stick tourney.
The Legion A-E Midgets opened International Silver Stick competition last Thursday morning in Niagara Falls with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Tavistock.
The Rock had beaten the same Titans squad earlier in the season.
“We just never came to play; we were absolutely terrible,” assistant coach/trainer Marty Thomson reported.
St. Marys, which took several penalties, out-shot Tavistock 19-6 overall.
Two wins on Friday
In their second game early Friday morning in St. Catharines, Mitch Blacklock posted the shutout as the Legion Midgets blanked Huntsville, Alabama 4-0.
After a scoreless first period, Travis Mann gave St. Marys a 1-0 lead early in the second from Brett Murray.
Two minutes later, Cole Campbell connected from Mann.
At 1:55 of the third, Mason Mueller made it 3-0, unassisted.
Brady McCallum completed the scoring with 6:24 remaining from Mueller and Adam Hyatt.
The Legion squad was back on the ice in the afternoon, again in St. Catharines, and emerged with a comeback 4-3 win over Georgina (north of Toronto).
After Georgina opened the scoring with an early goal, centre Adam Hyatt tied it 1-1 at 8:18 of the first period from Campbell.
Georgina regained the lead early in the second, but the Rock replied with three consecutive goals to take a 4-2 lead. Mason Mueller had two and Brett Murray (with the winner) had the other tally for St. Marys.
Georgina scored early in the third, but the Legion crew held on for the one-goal victory.
Coach Smale reported that goalie Tyler Kittmer made some “unbelievable saves.”
First in their pool
With the win, the Legion Midgets (2-1) finished first in their pool and advanced to the ‘A’ Tier playoffs. They met Grimsby in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Against Grimsby, Mason Mueller fired a pair of goals to pace the Rock to a 4-1 victory. Mueller, who had a strong tournament, also added an assist for a three-point outing.
Zack Smith and Mike Smith, into an empty net, scored the other goals for St. Marys, which carried a 2-0 lead into the third. Adam Hyatt and Mike Smith also chipped in assists.
Mitch Blacklock picked up the net win.
They advanced to the semi-finals against Mooretown Sunday morning. Earlier this season, the Rock defeated the Storm 5-2.
Sunday’s semi-final against their Shamrock rivals was much closer, with the Legion squad edging the Storm 2-1 for their fourth straight victory.
All the scoring was in the first period. After Mooretown took a 1-0 lead, goals by Mason Mueller and Brady McCallum put St. Marys ahead to stay.
Tyler Kittmer played “very well” in net.
“It will be Canada against the U.S. in the final,” said assistant Marty Thomson after reporting that the Legion Midgets would meet Casper, Wyoming in the ‘A’ final.
The Casper Oilers defeated Mt. Brydges Cougars 4-1 in the other semi-final Sunday morning.
Juveniles go winless
At Mooretown, the Rutherford Group ‘BB’ Juveniles lost all three of their preliminary games at International Silver Stick last week.
They lost 6-2 to Glanbrook Thursday, 4-3 to Tillsonburg Friday afternoon, and 7-2 to the host Mooretown squad Saturday afternoon.
St. Marys competed in the eight-team ‘B’ Division. Altogether, there were 32 teams competing in four divisions – ‘AAA’, ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’.