The BRICK Invitational Super Novice Hockey Tournament, held July 1-7, is considered to be the Little League World Series of pee wee hockey. Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks), Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning), and Dany Heatley (Minnesota Wild) are just a few names to have participated in this prestigious tournament. This was also the first year that Pennsylvania would be represented by a team at the tournament, with players from both western and eastern part of the state comprising Team Pennsylvania sponsored by GNC.
The team traveled to Edmonton, Alberta a few days prior to the start of the tournament prepare for an intense competition against some of the best talent in the world. The tournament opened for Team PA on Monday, with two games slated for them. Their first game, against the BC Jr. Canucks, was one that would be an eye-opener for the team. The Jr. Canucks dominated for most of the first half of the game, and even though Team PA found their legs later in the game, they would still fall 3-0. Team PA would finish the day with another loss, falling to the Chicago Jr. Blackhawks 4-0.
On Tuesday, Team PA played just one game vs. the Saskatchewan Jr. Pats. In this third game of the tournament, Team PA played better, competing hard in a tight game. As time was running out, and the Jr. Pats leading 1-0, Connor Trenholm, scored with 2.5 seconds in regulation to tie the game. After 3-on-3 and 2-on-2 overtimes, the teams went to a shootout. The Jr. Pats eventually won the shootout.
The next morning, Team PA, faced the defending champion and tournament favorite, Toronto Bulldogs. They played them to a tight score of 1-1 after two periods on a goal scored by Matthew Argentina. But Team PA had a goal called back in the early moments of the third period, which led to the Bulldogs scoring on the very next shift. But maintaining their composure and determination, Team PA with tied the game 2-2 on a Sam Lipkin goal. The third period remained tied until Toronto score with less than two minutes to take the lead and win the game.
Thursday’s game matched Team PA against the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit would go on to win the game 3-0, but Team PA only allowed 13 shots the entire game.
Team PA’s final game pitted them against Team Minnesota. They played their best game of the tournament. Team PA answered every goal that Minnesota scored, taking the game to overtime. Minnesota got the OT goal and won 5-4.
Team PA competed very well their first time in this highly competitive tournament, with a team of youngsters brought together from across the state and did not have much time to coalesce. They faced a steep initial learning curve and maneuvered it quite well to learn to quickly ramp up their level of competitiveness to the lofty level of skill and intensity that the BRICK Tournament represents.
Team PA ended their first BRICK Tournament with a record of 0-4-2 (representing regulation tied games) They battled to force two over times and a shootout, played long stretches of games keeping the score tied or very close and limited opposing team’s shots with good defense. With the lessons from their first BRICK competition, players and coaches alike will know what to strive for to do even better next year!