The Minor Provincial Championships held annually in the month of July have undoubtedly become the showcase event of the OBHA as 142 of the finest kids clubs from tyke to junior age players throughout Ontario participated in weekend long festivals of ball hockey. The 2009 tournaments, hosted by Kingston (Tyke and Novice), Midland-Penetang (Bantam & Junior divisions) and our own community of Kitchener-Waterloo (Atom, Peewee and Girls divisions), was no exception as the tradition continued. Click on read more for a recap of the individual teams results.
The Ontario Ball Hockey Association Minor Provincial Championships: It’s all about the kids!
Interestingly enough, the competition is often overshadowed by the fun and frivolity shared by teammates, their families and friends in attendance as the event unfolds. For instance, one of the highlights of the 2009 tournaments was not so much who were the winners or losers, but more importantly, how one could one obtain one of the signature T shirts and hats worn by the guys and girls from Kitchener-Waterloo. Our kids not only played wonderfully at each event, but looked fantastic in their commemorative t-shirts.
Nonetheless, sport and competition go hand in hand, and the presentation of the individual medals, along with the championship trophy to the divisional winners and the finalists has become an OBHA tournament tradition. Nonetheless, parody predominated the provincial championships this year with every team having a chance for the various divisional titles up for grabs.
Our teams recap is below…..
KW sent 3 teams to Kingston, 2 teams to Midland-Penetang and 6 teams including 3 girls teams for the first time to compete with our U18 Girls finishing as semi-finalists and our Tykes winning the BB Championship.
KW Tykes: Our Tyke team was going into the tournament after some well organised practises and warm ups to the tourney. They went into the first game ready to attack,and that is what they did beating Elgin 8-1. That set the tone for the rest of their games with a 7-0 win over Quinte West and a semi finals win 6-0 over Richmond Hill. It was apparent that Don McConnell and his coaching staff had the team ready to win their first Tyke Championship for the Kitchener Waterloo Rangers program. But hold on,they had to get thru a very talented and eager Cambridge team that much like the Rangers had strolled thru their games with little to no resistance from their opposition. The final game was played on a larger floor surface that had both teams very cautious throughout the 1st and second periods. The end of regulation seen these 2 Tyke powerhouses locked up at 2-2, the first overtime seen the kids go back and forth end to end, waiting for either team to make a mistake. None were made and 2 very tired squads headed for double overtime, where in the last few minutes of the 2ND OT Kitchener found the back of the net to secure the 3-2 victory and to win the Ontario BB Tyke Championships. Congrats to Don and his staff for a great job and a well deserved victory.
KW Novice A: The Novice A team had high hopes and great expectations going into the tourney. Some of the returning players were from the Novice BB Champs last year, they got off to a rough start losing 7-0 to Belleville and just never recovered losing 4-0 to Withrow Park and ending their hopes of winning another medal with a loss 6-0 to Belleville. It was not what was expected, but will be a learning experience for all and something to build off for next year.
KW Novice B: The Novice B team got off to a good start in Kingston beating Quinte 2-1, then fell behind against Richmond Hill and lost 5-3. But they got over that and went into their 3rd game and beat Nappanee 4-2. This set up a B Division semi final game against the always tough Quinte West. The game was a well fought one, and ended up tied thru 1 OT period. They went to a shootout and came up short and lost 4-3. They fought their hearts out till the end and unfortunately came up short, but none the less did a great job and will build on this for next year also.
KW Atom A: The Atom A Rangers led by Tim Beckett and his staff had prepared like no other Atom team in the past. They played games against a Hamilton Peewee team to prepare, as well as many other games and grueling practices to get them ready to play and were expected to come out all guns firing. Their first game against Belleville was a close game right up to a no goal call by a local referee against our Rangers. There was a lot of heated discussion of the ref missing the ball entering the net and coming back out but to no avail. He stood by his call and the game ended up tied 1-1 not knowing how big a missed call that was to the team at the time. They moved on but never really got over the disallowed goal, losing 6-0 to Withrow Park and then 5-1 to Barrie. That no goal cost them a playoff berth as well as would have changed the overall look to the playoffs as Belleville benefited by the call to go on and win the division. So it was not the result hoped for in the end. Our Atom A team went home without a taste of playoff hockey. Some had said it was due to the fact the kids are more pumped when out of time. Time will tell when they try again next year looking for a much better result as they will be even more hungry for a taste of medal round ball hockey.
KW Atom B: The Atom B team run by Terry Bax and his crew also had done every thing right leading up to the tourney, but unfortunately drew a division with Brampton who are considered the best Atom teams in the world. They lost 5-0 to the Express the eventual champions, then lost 6-0 to Withrow and 5-1 to Barrie. But luck would have it they snuck in thru the back door into the playoffs, where if not for 4-5 posts and or crossbars early in the game they would have had an early lead. But luck would have it they didn't get the early lead and ended up tiring out and losing 6-0 in the end to the 2ND place team from Withrow Park.
Some will say teams play better on the road and these players will put that theory to the test next season.
KW Peewee: Our peewee squad looked promising going into the tournament but in spite of some heroic goaltending our Rangers could not put together a strong enough offensive attack and went 0-3 for the round robin. The experience gained this weekend will serve these players well in future tournaments.
U14 Girls: Our U14 girls led by Pat Grobe were a young squad but size and inexperience aside these girls proved they could compete against the best programs in the Province. After dropping a tight game against the experienced Oshawa girls our Ranger girls gained some confidence. This showed in their second round robin game against Beeton with a dramatic 2-1 victory. They finished the preliminary round with a defensive battle against the heavily favored Penetang Blazers ending up on the wrong side of a 1-0 score. This set up a semi final game against Oshawa. The Rangers played a tight game but could not find their offence losing by the same margin as their round robin match.
U16 Girls: This was a mixed squad with some second year girls and many of our former U14 champions returning with the taste of gold and a desire for more. Their first game against Penetang proved they were here to compete and the 2-2 score was well earned. From here our girls lost their offensive touch and dropped two 3-1 decisions against Kingston and Beeton. Coming into the semi final match as 4th ranked they were matched up against Beeton. The scoring drought continued as our KW Rangers dropped a 4-0 decision against the eventual U16 Champs.
U18 Girls: Our Tri Cities girls playing under the KW Ranger banner for the first time in this age group were the pride of the tournament for KW coming away with medals and respect in the ladies ball hockey community. They provided some of the most intense action of any age group in the 2009 OBHA Provincials. All round robin games were tightly contested. Their first game against one of the most established women’s teams in Ontario, Oshawa, ended in a defensive 0-0 tie. This strong defensive style and strong goaltending would be their trademark heading into the semi finals. The Penetang Blazers came out of the gate on fire and dominated much of the game with strong ball control. Our girls did not give up and fought back to score their first goal of the tourney and put out the heavily favored Penetang squad. This put our Rangers in the medal game against a tough Chatham team. Again strong defense and outstanding goaltending kept our girls in the game but a late goal by Chatham dashed our gold medal hopes. Congratulations girls on your Finalist medal finish!
KW Bantam: Our Bantam Rangers got off to a good start against Richmond Hill in a wide open tilt that became a goaltender’s duel. The KW goalie remained perfect and finished two saves better than his opponent at the other end of the rink. The next game against the Extreme from the ball hockey hot bed of Beeton was a closely contested defensive battle that ended in a 1-1 tie. The Rangers from KW were in a good position going into the final round robin game against the #1 ranked Chatham Coyotes. The Rangers found themselves second to ball in most races and could not put any offence together dropping a 4-0 decision. With a 1-1-1 record this put our Rangers in the 8th seed for the final playoff spot in the B semi finals. The match up with Quinte West was another back a forth battle and with the Rangers down 2-1 late in the game it was the Quinte Devils that found the back of the empty Ranger goal resulting in a 3-1 loss against the eventual B Champions.
KW Junior: Our Junior Rangers comprised of mainly first year juniors were eager for some tough competition and they were not let down. The first game against Beeton was a good test and the Rangers proved to themselves that they could compete with a 4-2 victory. The Rangers next game against Richmond Hill Stars was an offensive battle with KW jumping out front with a sizeable lead. The Stars speed caught the defense off guard and some sloppy passing gave the Stars a chance to come back. The Rangers held off the attack and added a couple more markers to finish with a 6-3 win. The Brampton Bruins also won their first two games setting up the last round robin game as a division final. Unknown to the Rangers the Bruins had outscored their competition 21-0 in their first two games and were the heavy favorites. The Rangers played tough disciplined hockey and matched the Bruins step for step capping off the victory and the division lead with an empty net goal for a 4-2 final. With a perfect 3-0 record the KW squad were ranked second due to goal percentage behind Kingston and were up against a more senior team from Quinte. The Rangers got off to a quick lead only to see it vanish minutes later. With the game tied at two half way through the last period, a couple quirky goals put the Rangers in a position they could not recover from dropping a 5-2 decision to the eventual BB Champs.
Great job by everyone involved in providing this opportunity for so many kids to participate in the highest level of competition in the province.