West London Minor Novice MD - Team White are 2017 Byron Competitive tournament champions!
The Minor Novice MD Team White Hawks completed the 2017 Byron Competitive tournament with a 5-0-1 record, finishing first in their division and winning the final in an extremely exciting, come from behind shootout victory.
Their first game Friday, found the Hawks squaring off against the Milton Winterhawks. The level of effort our coaches saw in this first game would set the tone for the remainder of the games throughout the weekend. Right from the start the Hawks battled and while the score on the board noted a 2-0 deficit with 5 minutes to play in the third, the game itself had been played in the opposition’s end with Hawks controlling the play for a large part of the game. Two timely and hard fought goals within the next 3 minutes left the team with tense two minute back and forth match eventually ending in a 2-2 tie score.
The Thunder from Halton Hills met us in the second game, wherein our Hawks picked up where they left off with a high tempo game, pressuring their defense while slamming the door at our own end with a one two punch from our goaltender and defense respectively, ultimately resulting in a Hawks 6-0 victory.
In our third game we came up against a strong Leeside Flames team. The Hawks came out firing on all cylinders and quickly got pucks at the net, relying heavily on their work effort and passing to come out with a 4-2 win.
Late Saturday set the stage for our fourth game against a previously undefeated Burlington Bulldogs team in a battle for first in the division. The Hawks did not get the start they hoped for and found themselves down 1-0 early. After a quick gut check our team defense tightened up and let our offense get to work. The team worked hard throughout the remainder of the first period and into the second, resulting in a 1-1 tie going into the third. With a solid showing from the backend the team pressed forward in the third, pulling ahead and holding on for a 2-1 victory.
Early on championship Sunday our Hawks were tasked with facing off against the Thornhill Rebels at 7 am in the semifinal. Historically our Hawks have struggled with early morning tournament starts, but with a shot at the finals this was not to be the case this time. From the first puck drop to final whistle our Hawks proved their parents, their coaches and West London proud by controlling the game and making smart hockey plays. As the game played out the Hawks kept on finding ways to put the puck past the Rebels goalie, all the while our team remained humble and gracious in victory which ended in a final tally of 9-0.
In the finals, the Hawks were joined by a familiar foe in a strong North London Nationals team. The Nationals as a team have always come to compete when playing us and this day was no different. North started out strong and were rewarded early with a 2-0 lead six minutes into the first. After a quick timeout the Hawks responded a moment later and were back in the game. With a minute left in the second the Nationals potted an insurance goal taking a 3-1 lead into the third. The Hawks put their collective heads down and closed ranks around their own end and allowed their goalie to see the puck in order to make a number of key third period saves, giving the team a chance. The Hawks pressed on and soon after saw their efforts rewarded with a goal from the Hawks offense. The game remained an end to end battle with neither goalie flinching until with just under three minutes left a Hawks end to end rush ended with a tying goal causing the ever growing crowd at our home arena to go wild! Next up was overtime, proving nothing except the teams were evenly matched and neither wanted to concede victory to the other.
SHOOT OUT! As the teams readied themselves and received final instructions on the rules from the referees, the families and supporters of both sides all cheered on their respectively teams. Throughout all of this and the while the pressure of the moment is seemingly felt by everyone else, it appears lost on our team, all of whom are cheering and smiling on the bench as if this is what they have been waiting for all along. The coaches drew calmness from our Hawks as they all seem to handle the situation with ease. Our Hawks goalie fought to save the first Nationals attempt but was bested only stop the next two in an alternating shot format. Our first two Hawks shooters were able to beat an equally talented Nationals goalie, ending the stalemate in a 4-3 West London Minor Novice Team White Hawks 2017 Byron Tournament Victory!!!
Congratulations Hawks, Hawks families and our supporters for a tremendous win and overall tournament performance. Our collective thanks goes out to all the participants, their families and supporters as well as the West London Hockey Association and its’ volunteers for an amazing experience our Hawks will remember for a long time to come.
Coach Naj and all the West London Minor Novice MD, Team White St