After going undefeated and winning the International Silver Stick Pacific Regional Championship in San Jose, CA, in November, the Jr. Ducks Peewee B2 team headed to Pelham, Ontario, January 6 -9, for some unfinished business.
There they played in the International Silver Stick Finals, one of the elite tournaments for youth hockey in North America and the only minor hockey organization in the world that has a presence in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The Jr. Ducks 2,500-mile trek to a wintry Pelham, sandwiched in the bitter cold corridor separating Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, did not cool down the red-hot Jr. Ducks, who took a break from their undefeated SCAHA season to play in hockey’s motherland. In a display of courage and skill, they defeated the Bay County Blizzards (Michigan) 5 – 0 in the finals to claim the Peewee B Tier II Championship.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these boys,” said Leo Fenn, the team’s head coach. “They had some trying moments earlier in the tournament but turned it around. They played with class and commitment and represented California ice hockey against some of the best teams in the country.”
In the Tier II playoffs, the Jr. Ducks PB2 came out strong against the Skyland Kings, beating them 6 - 0. Jr. Ducks Captain Mason Pilkington controlled the puck most of the game and the team’s defense rejected the Kings’ advances.
The Jr. Ducks faced the Chicago Hawks in the semifinals, and the two teams fought hard. Tied 1 – 1 earlier in the game, Brennan Davis, who was a hitting machine all game, came up with the puck off a blocked shot and scored a shorthanded goal off a breakaway. The two teams battled into overtime, where Garrett Howhannesian sank the overtime winner to give his team a 4 - 3 win and a trip to the finals.
In the championship game against the Blizzards, Richard Cota played fearlessly on the blue line and center Zach Pires' relentless forechecking kept the Blizzards at bay. The Jr. Ducks were just too powerful, blanking the Blizzards 5 – 0. Goaltender Eddie Wolbert picked up his second shutout. Pilkington received the game puck as the team's MVP for the tournament.
Other stars of the series included: Nico Payne, Brady Duggan and Bowan Frabotta, who had two goals in the final game. All the kids were champions and earned the privilege to wear the coveted Silver Stick championship pin, made of solid sterling silver.
The trip from Southern California to Pelham, Ontario, was made possible in part from a grant from the Teemu Selanne
Youth Sports Foundation. TSYSF provides financial, educational and inspirational opportunities for children and their families through structured sports programs.
“Congratulations to the Jr. Ducks Peewee B2 team,” says NHL All-Star Teemu Selanne
. “The Foundation is very happy to have helped make this tournament possible for this great group of kids. We are committed to offering kids the chance to participate in sports in order to help them become excellent athletes and responsible citizens. Silver stick, with its focus on citizenship and international goodwill, is a perfect fit with our mission. When kids play, everyone wins.”
Founded in 1958 by Jack Kinsella, the International Silver Stick tournament philosophy is to promote “citizenship and international goodwill through Silver Stick hockey.” More information about this prestigious tournament can be found at www.silverstick.org.
For more information about the Jr. Ducks PWB2 team, visit www.jrduckspwb.com
. For more information about TSYSF, visit www.tsysf.org