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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Another gold in a golden season for Pee Wee Minor

submitted to EFP

The 2018-2019 season was an unexpected surprise. The coaches and players hoped to improve upon the previous year’s strong performance, and through teamwork and effort, they did just that.

The season began with back to back tournaments in Essex and Notre Dame, and back to back gold medals in both. The Silver Stick qualifying tournament in Owen Sound was a tough test, but yielded a silver medal, and an invitation to the International Silver Stick tournament. Another gold medal in the One World Hockey tournament in Michigan paved the way for many of these young players to win their second Silver Stick International in Newmarket, Ontario, a difficult feat, to say the least.

During the playdowns, the Ravens eliminate Erie North Shore in their first round, but succumb to a strong St. Thomas Stars team after winning game one of the series.

The return to the Bluewater League Playoffs placed the team in a round robin format against each of its regular season opponents. A strong start of three wins, then hit a speed bump with a loss to the top team, the LaSalle Sabers. A win, a tie, and a loss over the next three games created a tight points race with five teams competing for the final two playoff spots. With must win games to stay in the race, the Pee Wee Minor players did what they do best, work hard and persevere. Strong performances against the Tecumseh Eagles and the Windsor Junior Spitfires provided them a third place finish, matching them up again with Windsor, for the semi-final game.

The Windsor team played a tough game and took advantage of their opportunities. Leading the game 3 to 1 in the third period, the situation looked dim. But two quick goals by Essex, less than a minute apart, evened the game at 3. The five minute overtime did not resolve the game, and with two goals a piece after five shooters, the shootout continued. Both benches sent out almost the entire roster looking to end the game. On the 13th shooter, Essex finally broke through. With one final save, after a combined 26 shooters, Essex was bound for the finals.

The championship game on March 30 paired the Essex Ravens against the LaSalle Sabers. Although Essex had lost all of its games against LaSalle this year, the Ravens were only more determined to win this one. The game began evenly, but the dogged play of the Ravens wore LaSalle down. Essex took the lead in the game in the second period and never looked back. As a final exclamation mark on the season, the Essex Ravens shut out LaSalle for the Bluewater Championship, winning 4 to 0. Another gold in a golden season.

The coaches and parents are extremely proud of these boys, not only for what they have accomplished, but more importantly for the dedication, hard work and camaraderie they have displayed this year. They demonstrated the true meaning of what a team sport is.

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