Ancaster Fall Shootout Champions!, News, Bantam BB (Wilmot Girls Hockey)

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Ancaster Fall Shootout Champions!
Submitted By Dan O'Connell on Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Wilmot Wolverines Take Gold in Ancaster - The Bantam BB Wilmot Wolverines traveled to Ancaster, Ontario for the Ancaster Avalanche Fall Shootout Oct 26-28, 2018.  This would be the second tournament of the season for the Wolverines.  The Wolverines opened the tournament playing the Oakville Hornets.  Failing to be aggressive, the Wolverines succumbed 4-0 to a strong Oakville team.  Disappointed, the Wolverines went home to rest, to think about the game, and regroup for game #2.

Game #2 was later the same day against the Niagara Rapids.  The Wolverines came out strong, not wanting to end their chances at a berth in the finals.  As a 6 team tournament, only the top two teams would advance directly to the finals at the end of round robin play.  Period 1 was scoreless as the Rapids and Wolverines traded chances.  The Wolverines refused to let up, and finally at 6:49 of the second period, Emma Schweitzer buried the puck on a rush and nifty play from behind the Rapids net.  In the third period the Wolverines exploded for three more markers, two from Mia Thompson and one from Paige Jurica with Mackenna Krulicki riding shotgun for two assists.  With the game winding down and the Wolverines clearly on track, the Rapids netted the shutout buster.  Final score 4-1, and hope restored to the Wolverines.  But it would take more, much more, to earn a shot at gold.

 

Game #3 was early Saturday afternoon against the Stoney Creek Sabres.  The Sabres were a strong physical presence and the Wolverines needed to flex their muscles in order to compete with them.  The first period was a defensive battle that ended scoreless.  Mid way through the second, Cait Karelsen potted a huge rebound on a shot by Schweitzer to give the Wolverines the lead. Less than four minutes later, Jurica would take the Wolverines to 2-0.  In the third period, the Wolverines muscle turned into three penalties.  But the Wolverine penalty killing unit was up to task, and as time expired, goaltender Kaitlyn Robertson earned her first shutout of the tournament.

 

With two wins under their belt the Wolverines were tied for second with the Haldimand River Cats.  As lady luck would have it, the River Cats and Wolverines would meet for Round Robin Game #4, with the winner securing second place and a spot in the finals.  The Wolverines knew the all-important first goal was crucial.  On only the second shift of the game, the River Cats would strike, gaining the 1-0 lead.  With the River Cats continuing to press hard, the defensive force of Natasha Honderich, Avery Haid, Grace Bender, Emma Schweitzer, and goaltender Robertson held strong, keeping the River Cats at bay.  With 1:06 left in the first period the River Cats would be penalized and the Wolverines opportunity appeared.  The Wolverines went straight to work, moving the puck and creating chance after chance.  With 12.9 seconds left in the first period, Mikayla O'Connell would light the lamp for the equalizer, with helpers to Chloe Hehn and Jurica.  The second period turned into a battle, with both teams spending time in the penalty box.  Once again Robertson was stellar, keeping the Wolverines chances alive.  The next marker would come late in the second from Krulicki, barreling through the River Cat defence, and with a sprawling shot pulled the Wolverines ahead 2-1.  In the third period the fans were on the edge of their seats wondering if the Wolverines could pull off their third straight win.  The Wolverines were strong, and with the clock winding down and the River Cat net empty, O'Connell added the insurance goal and the Wolverines indeed earned their birth in the finals with a 3-1 victory.

 

Straight home, straight to bed, and up early it was for the Wolverines.  Championship Sunday placed the Wolverines vs the Oakville Hornets, with the Wolverines clearly underdogs after taking the 4-0 beating from the Hornets two days before.  But this time the Wolverines were ready, hungry, and the Hornet sting would prove less deadly.  The Wolverines meant business, controlling the play from the puck drop.  Chance after chance the Wolverines came up short.  Then, with time winding down in the first, Cait Karelson sped up the ice, blew past the Hornet defence, and made a nifty deke to a backhand goal over the sprawling Hornet goaltender.  Good things go to those who work hard!  Pressing into the second period, Jurica lit the lamp with helpers to O'Connell and Bender.  2-0 Wolverines!  You could feel the energy.  Ferocious forechecking and backchecking by Kassia Deep made a huge difference containing the Hornets.  With 36.6 seconds left in the second, the Hornets potted their first goal, and we had an epic third period lined up.  The Wolverines would regain the two goal lead when Krulicki struck again, with helpers to Paulie Warkentin and Thompson.  The two goal lead was short lived as the Hornets pressed, and with 6:32 to go in the third, it was 3-2 Wolverines.  But today was Wolverine day, and digging deep, the Wolverines potted two more, both by Jurica, and both assisted by O'Connell and Jessie Dannemann. With a 5-2 lead and only 4:14 to go, getting pucks deep was the Wolverines strategy.  The Hornets still pressed on, showing their skill but were stopped by the perfect positioning of Robertson.  The Hornets eventually potted one more, but it wasn't enough as time expired and the Wolverines celebrated their first tournament championship of the year with a 5-3 final victory.  Thank you to all our fans for believing in this fantastic group of young ladies!

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