3rd time's a charm, News, Minor Peewee AA White '07, 2018-2019 (London Junior Knights)

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3rd time's a charm
Submitted By Dave Leff on Tuesday, September 25, 2018
On the weekend of September 14th-16th the LJK Minor Peewee AA white team travelled to Peterborough to play in the Kawartha Lakes AA tournament.  This event is one of the top AA tournaments in the province with a number of top ranked teams who consistently attend year after year.  This year was no exception as 4 of the top 6 provincially ranked teams from 2017 registered this year to play. The majority of this team played in this event the past two years and with semi-final losses both years we knew that this event was going to be a test.

This year's team arrived in Peterborough on Thursday night and stayed at the Scotsman Point Resort on beautiful Buckhorn Lake.  With the cottages on the water and fishing close by we knew the kids would have a wonderful time away from the rink.  It was also a great opportunity for the new players and parents on the team to get to know each other in a relaxed resort setting. After a mixed preseason with one win and one loss it was anybody's guess how quickly the boys could start jelling on the ice.


Our first round-robin game on Friday morning was against the 6th ranked North Durham Warriors who we knew had an excellent 2017 season which included two wins against the vaunted Peterborough Petes.  This was a tightly contested game between two very good teams.  The Knights had a 1 goal lead with less than 2 minutes to play in the game but a short handed goal by Warriors tied it up.  Although it was a disappointing way to end the game both the coaches and players knew we had a team that could match up with one of the top teams in the province. On Friday afternoon we played our Alliance rivals, the Hamilton Huskies whom we played a number of times the year prior.  This well coached team consistently out works their opponents but in this game our team provided to be too much with a convincing 4-0 win.


The evening festivities at the Resort were definitely one of the highlights of this event.  Led by the #1 ranked SoComm in the League both the players and parents knew that we would be well looked after.   On Friday night after some swimming, kayaking and fishing, the team enjoyed a potluck dinner where all families ensured that we were well fed. With a campfire to end the night you could tell that the kids were forming some new friendships which would bode well for the rest of the weekend.


On Saturday morning we played our last round robin game against the Oakville Rangers Blue team whom we knew would be a worthy adversary.  This tight checking game ended in a 4-1 win for the Knights which ensured we finished as the top team in our division.  With only a couple of hours between games we were right into the Quarter Finals on Saturday afternoon with a match up against the Oakville Rangers Red team. As this was win or go home our kids and coaches were very motivated to not just move on but to also ensure we had another night to enjoy at the Resort.   The team came out quickly and were up 4-0 in the 1st period. Although the final score was 6-0 we fully expect this Rangers team to be a top ranked team by seasonś end.


Saturday night was bitter sweet for the kids and parents as we knew this was to be our last night enjoying this beautiful waterfront property.  SoComm yet again delivered with pizza for dinner and a smorgasbord of desserts that included the delicious pretzel bark that all were craving for.  As another night ended around the campfire many discussions were had if tomorrow was going to be the day that we would remember.


Our Semi final on Sunday morning matched us up against the hometown Peterborough Petes.  Although this #1 ranked team from 2017 had gone through a number of changes this off-season we all had this game marked as the one we wanted.  This game matched up two very good teams and it showed with only limited chances for either team.  The Knights had a 1-0 lead late in the 3rd and the Petes pushing hard but an empty netter ensured that we escaped with a 2-0 win. 


The Final, although delayed by 1.5 hours, matched us up against the #1 team in the other loop, the #23 ranked Northumberland Nighthawks.  From watching this team play in the round robin we knew that they were a vastly improved team from the one we saw in 2017.   Our boys again came out very quickly and were up 2-0 in the first 5 minutes of the game.  A strategic time out by the Knighthawks ensured that this was game was far from over as Northumberland came on very strong to get back into the game.  Again, the Knights were just too much for their opponents on this day and ended up winning the tournament in convincing fashion with a 6-1 win.  Based upon the play we all know that this will not be the last we see of this very strong  Northumberland team this season.


This was definitely a wonderful start to the season both on and off the ice for this team.  New friendships were made, fish were caught and a few hockey games played in between.  Thank you to our gracious hosts, the Peterborough Petes, who yet again facilitated a first class hockey tournament.



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