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All they do is win

Posted By Jacob Robinson, SIMCOE REFORMER

Posted 1 day ago

The Waterford Wildcats midget rep team would have a tough time losing a game even if they wanted to right now.

They may have dropped their first game in the International Silver Stick qualifier in Petrolia (held Dec. 26-Jan. 2), but since then it's been nothing but checks in the win column. The Wildcats went on to win the Silver Stick event and last night they finished off their first-round opponents in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association playdowns.

After losing to Mt. Brydges in the opening game of the Silver Stick by a score of 4-3, the Wildcats went on to defeat Aylmer 4-2, Lambeth 7-1, the host Petrolia Minors 2-1 and St. Mary's 3-2 to move on to the final. There waiting was Mt. Brydges with an undefeated record. Since the Silver Stick is a double-elimination tournament, Waterford had to win twice against a team that had previously defeated them.

What may have seemed like a monumental task to some wasn't looked upon as impossible at all by the Wildcats.

"We watched a couple other games and we didn't see any teams that we felt could beat us if we skated and if we played hockey," said coach Brian Murray. "The boys worked hard all week. I think they realized after the first game that they had to skate every game, you couldn't let up, and that's what they did."

Team Captain Matt Harrop and Bobby Lake had first- and second-period goals for Waterford in the first game of the finals, and Steven Dol stepped up to score once in the third period to tie it and again in overtime to win. Dol's OT marker forced a one game, winner-take-all showdown. At that point though, the Wildcats felt it was their tournament to win.

"After we beat them the first time, I thought we felt really confident, not cocky, but we felt like we could really do this and it was our tournament kind of thing," said forward Sean Cole.

Sure enough, the Wildcats got on the board first with a goal by Dol, and although Mt. Brydges tied it in the second, David Kotewicz's third period marker assisted by Logan Emslie proved to be the golden goal for Waterford.

Landon Lubek was between the pipes for Waterford in the game, and turned away all shots down the stretch. As the clock read zero, the team could finally celebrate.

"Every year I've played rep, and we've played Silver Stick every single time, and we've never won it," said Cole. "A couple kids in here have before, but I've never had that experience, so it was really special to me. Not a lot of kids can say they're the Silver Stick champions."

Upon returning back to Waterford, the team began OMHA playdowns against Tillsonburg, and finished off the series three games to none last night on home ice. The Wildcats capped off the series with a 4-3 win in overtime. Dol had a hat trick, including the overtime winner, to help lead the Cats into the second round.

The big sniper gave credit to the men between the pipes -- goaltenders Lubek and Spencer Hockley -- for his team's ability to win big games late in the tournament, and the playoffs.

"I think goaltending helps us move the puck out faster, it give us confidence to send in three men hard," said Dol. "Just lucky bounces too, we've got a lot of luck on our side, and never quitting. We go full out at all times."

The team will need to continue that play next weekend in Sarnia as the Silver Stick International Tournament gets underway. It wasn't long ago that the 2008 version of the Wildcats lost to Shomberg in the OMHA finals, and Waterford will have the chance to exact some revenge as the two teams meet in the tournament's opening game.

They also face a tough Caledonia club in the second round of OMHA playoffs. Waterford has yet to defeat Caledonia this year.

Just call them the new cardiac kids

Posted By Jacob Robinson, TIMES-REFORMER

The Waterford Wildcats may wear black and gold, but the organization's midget AE team is getting a lot closer to silver.

At this past weekend's Regional Silver Stick Qualifier in St. Clements, the Wildcats fought through four wild games only to battle it out with league-rival Tavistock in the finals.

With time winding down and overtime looming large with every passing second, Waterford's Lucas Friesen converted on a pass from Andrew Novinka to make it 6-5 for the eventual tournament winner.

In one of the most exciting games the team could've asked for, it all came down to one goal for all the marbles.

"I can't even explain it, it's crazy. You're feeling excitement, so happy," said Waterford's Josh Eldridge. "The chance to go to the Silver Stick is just phenomenal, it'll probably be the biggest tournament in Canada and to win with such a nail biter game was even better.

"Every game it just kept getting way more exciting. It kept us going and what brought us to the championship in the end."

Waterford's journey to the finals began when they locked horns with the BCH Icedogs (from Bayfield, Clinton and Hensall counties) in a 3-3 draw. Waterford got a strong goaltending performance from Ken Mailloux, while Billy Hobbs, Trevor Beihn and Eldridge all had goals. Eldridge's late marker preserved the tie.

An 8-2 drubbing of North Middlesex in their next game gave Waterford a first place spot after the round robin portion of the event.

Things got very interesting for the team in the quarter-finals against South Huron when goals by Lucas Vezsenyi and Friesen had the Wildcats up 2-1. Late in the third, South Huron tied the game and forced overtime. That's when Ryan Ondusko found Hobbs, who scored with 4:23 left in the extra frame to send Waterford to the semis.

"It was just a rebound in front of the net," explained Hobbs. "As soon as I scored, the hair stood up on my head. It was very exciting."

East Lambton was up next for Waterford's new cardiac kids and, sure enough, after a first period marker from McClay, the Wildcats found themselves down 2-1 late in the third period. With barely a nail left on any hand in the rink, Friesen and CJ Jeffries assisted on a Hobbs goal that tied the game and forced yet another overtime.

With momentum on their side, Eldridge found the back of the cage with an assist from Wes Bowers to send Waterford to the finals.

"I think we were just communicating really well," said Friesen. "We hadn't had that many games before (the tournament), but we had a lot of chemistry."

The extra sessions didn't phase Waterford heading into the finals against Tavistock, as the teams skated to a 2-2 tie after one period of play. Hobbs and Austin Munday had Waterford goals, before Eldridge netted two of his own along with one from Michael Yu to put the Wildcats ahead 5-3 after two.

Tavistock took full advantage of a 5-on-3 powerplay early in the third by scoring twice to tie the game. Goaltender Lindsay Miles then came off the bench cold and was peppered with shots, but held her ground, keeping the Tavistock shooters at bay. The great goaltending set the stage for the Friesen winner.

"It was just a huge sigh of relief," said Friesen. "We blew that two-goal lead at the beginning of the third and then we just held them off at the end of the game. It just felt amazing."

Although the player's parents couldn't take much more, playing in three tight games en route to the finals was a big help for the team.

"It kept our head straight and didn't make us overconfident going into the final game," said Eldridge.

Waterford will have a couple months to get ready for the International Silver Stick Tournament that goes in early January in Pelham.

First year AE player and Waterford right winger Jeff Hodgson said it's all a matter of improvement as his team readies to take the next step.

"Just play like we've been playing," he said. "Practice our passing and more team play."

Waterford versus Waterford: the rematch
Hometown bantams square off in WDMHA tourney final

Monday March 31, 2008

WATERFORD - For Waterford fans, there was no doubt their hometown team would win the bantam final.
The only question was - which team would it be?
It was an all-Waterford bantam final in the town’s peewee, bantam and midget tournament yesterday afternoon as the Waterford Legion Terra Firma squad took on Waterford Lucas Farms.
Both teams went on the ice with a previous game on their minds - they had also faced off against each other in the Southern Counties Interlock league hockey finals. In that case, Waterford Legion Terra Firma took home the title.
But the players on Lucas Farms were determined things were going to be different this time.
"I think we woke up when we got beat," Lucas Farms player Rob Stirling Jr. said, remembering the Southern Counties finals. "We needed to rise to the occasion . . . We just tried a lot harder. We were determined."
Lucas Farms player Nolan Brooks netted the first goal of the game, with 9:28 left in the first period, with help from Reg Marr and Dennis Fell. Teammates Billy Cable and Josh Midema would add two more goals in the second to give Lucas Farms a 3-0 lead. Helpers went to Brooks (2), Matthew Dawson and Cable.
Despite being down, the Waterford Legion Terra Firma team continued to play hard.
"We’ve been battling this team all year. These guys never give up," assistant coach Jeff Gilbert said.
David Havens of Waterford Legion Terra Firma would net his team’s only goal in the third period with help from Nelson Elliott and Austin Logan.

Legion Terra Firma coach Rob Sloot said he knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game.
"We knew they’d be really determined to beat us," he said, noting it was a "hard fought" game that could have gone either way.
Player Brian Gilbert said his team played well, but the other guys just played a little better.
"I’m kind of bummed. I was hoping we’d win," he said. "We played really good as a team . . . They played really good too."
He said the Legion team has "been a lot of fun to play with" and added, "I don’t think we would have gotten as far as we did without the coaching."
Lucas Farms coach Rob Stirling said his team has come a long way since the first game of the season. And what was the big difference between this game and the league finals?
"Heart. The guys really wanted it today," Stirling said.
Player Curtis Willett said the win was "amazing" and the team just worked well together.
"We just did everything right," he said.
For Cable, who will be moving up to midget next year, this was the best way to end the year.
"It was probably the biggest game we’ve had because it’s the last one," he said. "This team’s just been awesome. We kind of said we were the underdogs coming into this game, because we lost the (league finals) game. Now, here we are, on top of the world."
In the peewee consolation game, Waterford Mel’s Ginseng beat Waterford Riddoch Lumber 3-1. Simcoe beat East Lambton 1-0 to win the peewee championship
In midget play, Coldwater thumped Tillsonburg 10-2 in the consulation game while Simcoe lost to Niagara-on-the-Lake 5-2 in the championship.

Waterford Bantams win Pittsburgh tournament

Thursday January 03, 2008

The Waterford bantam rep Wildcats hardly had any time to open their Christmas presents before they left for a hockey tournament in Pittsburgh.
It didn’t matter. The best gift was yet to come.
The red-hot Wildcats packed up their hockey bags and hopped on a bus two days after Christmas and took to the open road. Their destination was a tournament in Pittsburgh. Three days later the Wildcats packed up their bags again and hopped back on the bus -- only this time they were carrying a championship banner.
After losing their first game 4-3, the Wildcats went on a tear, scoring a ton of goals and posting a pair of shutouts on their way to a 7-3 championship victory against the host South Hills Panthers, the same team that defeated them earlier.
Wildcats defenceman Nick Smith and his teammates weren’t surprised by the turnaround. Heading into the final game, their one loss was the last thing on their mind.
"I was pretty confident because the first time we played them we weren’t playing our game at all," Smith said. "We were running all over the place. We’d been sitting on the bus all day so we weren’t really focused. We made the goalie look good by shooting right at him."
Wildcats captain Josh Eldridge set the tone early in the first period of the final, taking a Michael Yu pass in the high slot and firing a slapshot past the South Hills goaltender for a 1-0 lead. Jumping out to an early lead was pivotal against the undefeated Panthers, and the Wildcats didn’t let up.
Shortly after, Wildcats sniper Lucas Friesen made it 2-0. The Panthers bounced back quickly though by crashing the net and forcing an ugly goal past Wildcats starting goaltender Lindsay Miles.

Waterford’s momentum was too strong to be stopped though. The Wildcats stormed back up the ice. Joey Ferguson had the puck down low when he spotted Smith open at the point and slid the puck back to him.
Smith let a blast rip that Ferguson deftly tipped past the goaltender to rebuild a two-goal lead.
The Panthers would find trouble erasing that two-goal differential the rest of the way.
"They were pretty good. They were a little more aggressive than us," Miles said. "I thought we had a good chance because our team was playing really good that weekend. They were a really fast skating team and some of the time they skated right around us so we needed to pick up the physical game."
Miles split duties throughout the tournament with Patrick Murphy. Both goaltenders played extremely well despite facing a lot more contact than they’re used to under OMHA rules.
The rules were slightly different in the tournament than OMHA standard rules and when a goaltender came out of the crease he or she was considered the same as any other player. In the first game Miles made the mistake of leaving her crease and she was hit so hard her helmet popped off.
Both goalies made the adjustment though, and showed their grit by refusing to let their opponents throw them off.
"Any coach would love to have two goalies like I have," Wildcats head coach Mike Smith said. "And if Lindsay moves to girls hockey next year it’ll be a real loss for Waterford minor hockey because she can play here."
In the six-game tournament, Nick Smith finished with seven points, Lucas Friesen finished with 13, Trevor Biehn finished with eight, Ferguson finished with five and Eldridge had 10. Every Waterford skater had at least a point and that balance is something the Wildcats believe will be a big difference as they amp up for OMHA playdowns.
"I think if we keep up our skills we can take it really far this year," Miles said.

Steven Noble
(519) 426-3528 ext. 121

The host with the most - hardware
Waterford Atoms Win Nelson Emerson Tournament

Ashely House and Steven Noble SIMCOE REFORMER
Monday December 03, 2007

The Nelson Emerson Hockey Tournament’s first place plaques didn’t travel far as the hometown Waterford Wildcats atom rep hockey team was crowned champions in their division yesterday.
“They played really well and we had total commitment from the team,” said coach Kevin Mt. Pleasant.
Facing off against the Burford Coyotes, players said the final was the hardest game of the tournament.
“They’re aggressive,” said team captain Dustin Moore.
Moore credited his team’s tournament success to speed and teamwork.
“And our goalie, Travis Magalas” said assistant captain Austin Sloot. “He deserves a lot of credit. Without him I’m not sure we would have made it.”
Mt. Pleasant agreed.
“(Magalas) was the deciding factor in our game against Harrow,” he said. “We won 3-0 but it was a very close game. He made the difference.”
With a tie at the end of the second period, it seemed the final against Burford could go either way. But a Waterford goal by Isaiah Mt. Pleasant early in the third gave the team the lead.
With only a minute and a half left, Burford pulled their goalie in a final attempt to tie up the game again. Instead, Waterford cleared the puck out of their zone and Sloot swooped in for the empty-netter to secure a 4-2 victory.

The Delhi Rockets novice rep team also came out of the tournament with a title, winning the consolation final 5-0 against Waterford.
“It was a close game in terms of skill,” said Delhi coach Peter Kramer. “But the kids didn’t stop shooting the puck on net and eventually some started getting through.”
Kramer said a bad game against Lucan, in which the outcome cost them a chance at the championship, had the kids down -- but it didn’t keep them there.
“They picked themselves up after that and I’m proud of them,” Kramer said.
Waterford novice Hayden Sostar said the competition was tough.
“The other teams were good but we used teamwork and worked on playing our positions,” Sostar said.
The annual Waterford District Minor Hockey Association event was once considered a jewel among local minor hockey tournaments. This year the tournament suffered a bit of a letdown. There was no peewee division and the numbers were down in other divisions as well, but it didn’t cast a shadow over the tournament.
“The competition is great. It’s been a fairly equal tournament and that’s nice to see since we’re a double-C centre and teams can come in from higher centres and we can compete with them,” Wildcats novice coach Phil Beaulieu said on the weekend, putting the focus on the positives.
“I’ve heard people from other teams say this tournament is run well and that (the Tricenturena) is a top-notch facility and the kids have a lot of fun here.”
In the WDMHA war-room though, everybody was wary of figuring out a strategy to keep the tournament on track. Nobody in Waterford wants the Nelson Emerson Tournament, named after the Waterford native and former NHLer, to go the way of Simcoe’s Golden Gardens Tournament a few years back.
The Golden Gardens Tournament was a renowned minor hockey tournament in Simcoe that fell on hard times in the modern era and is only now beginning to make a comeback.
“Compared to other years we’re a little shorter on teams,” Nelson Emerson organizer John Rolfe said.
“There are a number of tournaments in the area around the same time and we’re all drawing from the same pool,” Rolfe explained.
The Simcoe and District Minor Hockey Association also held a novice rep tournament over the weekend. Rolfe said he and fellow organizers were so focused on their own duties they didn’t even realize the scheduling conflict until about a month ago.
“This tournament’s been around forever so it was kind of a shock that someone else was doing a tournament on the same weekend. Caledonia or Delhi might not have been so bad but Simcoe is so close.”
Rolfe says he and fellow WDMHA members have already discussed trying to initiate a Southern Counties meeting next year with all the local district associations. That way everyone can pick their weekends and not cut into each other’s revenue pools.
“Everyone deserves a piece of the pie . . . that way everyone can benefit. We all like to go to each other’s tournaments too. These are crucial fundraisers for every centre so it’s important that nobody lose out.”

Created by: BT -- Last updated:Jan 10, 2009