Mitchell Fox December 28th
Only three days after Christmas, the Streetsville Stingers were off to Hespeler, near Kitchener, Ontario to play in the second tournament of their season. After coming second in their last tournament, the Stingers were ready to make that achievement look like nothing. The first game of the tournament came against the London Bandits, who the Stingers had never heard of. This meant that both teams were coming in with a mentality of playing their game and trying their best to win.
The warm-up ended and Matthew’s line hopped onto the ice. Right away, the Stingers showed their speed. The thing is, London seemed to be ready for this. They came right back with their own speed. Eventually, the Stingers were tired enough to get desperate. Aiden was called for tripping only a minute into the game. The penalty kill started and the Stingers were very lucky. London missed the net a lot and William made a couple of good saves. The penalty ended and the Stingers tried to get some offence of their own. Aiden stepped out of the box, received a pass and took off on a breakaway. The London goalie stepped up and let the shot hit him high on the chest. On the next faceoff, Matthew won the faceoff back to Evan. He let the shot go but the goalie got it with his glove. The game continued to go back and forth for a couple of minutes until a London forward was called for hooking. The Stingers tried to get pucks to the net but they were all blocked by either a defenceman or the goalie. Then, London tried to do too much. One obvious tripping call later, the Stingers had a five on three. The next minute or so was the Stingers chance. They kept the puck in the offensive end and got a couple of great shots but could not get anything past the goalie. Then, London cleared the puck and surprised the Stingers with a strong forecheck. This lead to a tripping penalty for Tommy. The four on four was good for both teams. The speed and passing was outstanding! The Stingers then had to fight off a penalty kill. The first period came to an end and the score was still tied at zero.
The second period started well for the Stingers. The Bandits got a roughing penalty about a minute in. The Stingers were able to get a few good chances but nothing was good enough to hit the netting behind the goalie. It was only seconds afterward that another penalty was called. Trent was off to the box for hooking. The good thing was that the Stingers penalty kill was really good. Evan, Tommy and Shane combined for some great defensive effforts and the forwards were able to hold the bandits back. On the faceoff after the penalty kill ended, I noticed something. Matthew, one of the Stingers centermen, was doing amazing at the faceoff dot. Halfway through the game, he had only lost one faceoff! The problem was that this was not quite enough to hold off London’s offence. About a minute later, London put one into the net behind William from the high slot. The Stingers speed and passing was not quite doing enough to get them goals. London eventually got another penalty, this time for tripping. The Stingers had chances but were not passing or shooting well enough to score. The second period was not as good as the Stingers had hoped and they were down 1-0.
The third period started and the Stingers still looked the same. Their aggressiveness was not good enough and many pucks were being fanned on. Eventually, though, they would turn everything around. Tommy got the puck off of and offensive zone faceoff and fired a slap shot from the blue line. The goalie had no chance as the puck flew past him into the top corner. Only a short time later, Cole put in a nice snap shot from the front of the net. All of the sudden, it was 2-1 for the Stingers. After this, the Stingers started to get too rough. Trent was called for a trip in the corner behind the net and then only seconds later, Walker got a slashing penalty when he tried to protect William in front of the net. On the five on three, the Bandits tried their best. Luckily, the Stingers were a good team. William made a bunch of great saves and the penalty killers blocked a bunch of shots. Evan even got a great chance on a defensive rush…while down two men! Both teams tried to be more aggressive once it was even strength again. There was lots of rough stuff in front of William and there were many battles at the boards. One of these lead to a hooking penalty for Daniel C. The good thing was that London was rough too. They were called for yet another tripping penalty. The four on four was very good for the Stingers. Right away, Aiden took off on a rush and put one past London’s goalie. This kept the Stingers going. The hustle was great, the passing was good and the speed was starting to tire out the Bandits. Davis and Liam got their chance about a minute after the penalties ended. It was a great two on one with two awesome passes across the crease and a goal for Davis. William was also very good. He kept everything out of the Stingers net while the offence kept pushing. Daniel C eventually scored after a great pass from Tommy. This was followed by a penalty for Cole, which meant close to nothing thanks to some more great penalty killing and goaltending. At the very end of the game, the Stingers got very mad. A London player took a hard slap shot after the final buzzer. It nearly hit William in the back of the head but instead went into the net. He then celebrated. You can imagine the way that the crowd reacted to that…
The first game of the tournament ended in a 5-1 win for Stingers. However, it did not look like a game that should have a five goal differential. William had to stand on his head and make many amazing saves and the defence had to work their butt off. The passing and penalty killing also had to be very, very good. The Stingers struggled in the second period but were able to come back in the third and make it a good start to the tournament.