Five DYHA teams hit the road in November seeking to bring home CanAm Challenge Cup titles from Lake Placid, NY and Montreal. After long weekends filled with hockey, mixed with some sight seeing and team bonding, the Stars Bantams, Stars PW1 and Wild Squirt Majors all made the drive home with championship banners in hand, while the Wild Bantam Minors and Wild PW Minors took home bronze medals of their own.
The following are summaries provided by each team following their weekends of tournament play. Congratulations to all of the teams on their hard-fought victories in the Challenge Cup!
The Bantam Stars arrived in Lake Placid firing on all cylinders for the Challenge Cup. Thursday afternoon the team kicked off the weekend with a public skate where all teams and their families got a chance to skate on the 1980 Olympic Rink, the same ice where the US beat USSR in the 1980 Olympics in what is now known as “The Miracle on Ice.” The skate was followed by Opening Ceremonies which were capped off by our own Corey Furman lighting the ceremonial torch.
The team played their first games shortly after the ceremony, getting back on the 1980 Olympic Rink to play a solid Lexington/Bedford Revolution team from Massachusetts. After a tight first period the scoring opened up with goals from Brady McDonough and two assists from Connor Veno, helping the Stars roll to an 8-0 win.
Friday morning the Stars travelled to The Saranac Civic Center to play the Masconomet Chieftains from Massachusetts. The Stars grabbed an early lead and saw goals from seven different players in a 7-0 victory. The team followed up with a 12-0 victory against the Greenwich Skating Club which featured a hat trick from Jeffrey Ouellette and 3 assists from Johnny Kodzis.
The Stars continued their success in the Friday afternoon skills competition. The Sprint Relay team of Joe Neal, Nate Coffey, Jeff Ouellette, and Garrison Keathley outpaced the field to take first place, while goalie Nic Pruett took home runner-up honors in the Goalie Skills competition and Jacob Pelletier placed 2nd in the Shoot Out
Saturday afternoon, the Stars played the Ridgefield Lions from Connecticut on the 1932 Rink. Brayden Beckwith netted 2 goals in a 5-0 win, putting the team into the Gold medal game against the Lexington/Bedford Revolution. Captains Joe Neal, Jacob Pelletier and Garrison Keathley set the tone early and the two-way play of Calvin Lambert on defense was key to a 4-0 victory in the championship game.
The Stars PW 1 team had a great time in Lake Placid, going 5-0 on the weekend and bringing back a gold medal for the DYHA trophy case! The team enjoyed a public skate on the 1980 Olympic Rink, followed by opening ceremonies and the lighting of the torch.
The team took to the ice for their first game on Friday morning against Lexington-Bedford. A well-balanced team effort gave the Stars a 6-1 victory in the opener. This was followed up by the Skills Competition, where goalie Aidan McQuaide was runner-up among goalies and Gordon Diment took 2nd place in the Shootout. Our relay team of Jace Parker, Austin Keenan, Will Hamel, and Colby Seaver came in third place in a very exciting race.
The PW Stars finished their Friday night with a game on the historic 1980 Olympic rink, which was exciting for players and coaches alike. Like the US, the team brought home victory, beating the Ridgefield (CT) Lion Black team 4-1. Saturday saw more of the same, with the Stars beating Ridgefield Lions White team 9-0 and the Masconomet Chieftains 6-1 to earn a spot in the finals.
In Sunday morning’s Gold Medal game the team faced off against the Manchester Flames, a team they know well from Granite State League play. The teams had split their two previous contests this season and were geared up for another tough matchup. After a scoreless first period the Stars struck first, netting a pair of goals in the 2nd. The Flames tallied a goal late in the period to end the period with a 2-1 score. Manchester continued the scoring with a quick goal just 13 seconds into the 3rd, tying the game, but the Stars answered less than 2 minutes later with a power play goal that gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. After a tense period with a lot of back and forth play the Stars iced the game with another goal at 1:30 and celebrated a 4-2 win.
The team had a great weekend of hockey that also featured a lot of pool time and team dinners in the Lake Placid village.
GSW Squirt Majors
The Granite State Wild Squirt Major (2007) traveled to Montreal, Quebec to play in the 2017 Canadian Challenge Cup. The Wild were the only US team in their division, with 3 Canadian teams from Sieurs De Chambly (Quebec), Brossard Coyotes (Quebec) and the Kingston Canadians (Ontario) filling out the bracket.
The Wild kicked off the weekend with two games on Friday, picking up a 4-1 victory in the opener against Sieurs De Chambly and following up with a 8-1 win against Brossard Coyotes. The team continued their winning ways on Saturday, netting 9 goals in a 9-2 win over the Kingston Canadians that assured them a spot in Sunday’s title game.
Sunday saw a rematch against a Sieurs De Chambly team that had revenge on their mind. Both teams were fired up and proud to represent their respective country. The Wild came out shooting again and were rewarded with 2 goals in the first period. The team netted a goal in each of the following periods in a hard fought, back and forth contest to notch a 4-0 win and the Canadian Challenge Cup title.
Coach Adam Kozlowski highlighted a solid team effort from the Wild offense, defense and goaltenders as the catalyst for their very successful and fun-filled weekend in Montreal.
GSW Bantam Minors
The GSW Bantam Minor team traveled to Lake Placid to take part in the Can/Am Challenge Cup on November 16th. The team kicked off the weekend by joining friends from the Stars Bantam and PW1 team on the 1980 Olympic ice for the public skate and opening ceremonies.
The weekend started out tough for the Wild Bantams, as they came up on the wrong side of 3-2 result against the Martha's Vineyard Mariners in a hard-fought contest, followed up by a 6-0 loss to eventual tournament champions, the Ridgefield (CT) Lions.
The Wild turned things around on Friday night, putting up 7 against the MASCO Chieftans to post their first ‘W’ in a 7-3 game.
Saturday saw the Wild engage in a tight battle with Lexington-Bedford. The Wild worked hard through two scoreless periods, creating countless opportunities, and finally netting the game’s first goal early in the 3rd period. But Lexington-Bedford answered back with two goals of their own in a game that ended in a 2-1 score, leaving the Wild with a 1-3 record and in need of some help to get into the Bronze medal game.
The Bantams got the help that they were looking for on Saturday night and entered Sunday’s medal round as the #4 seed, geared up for a rematch against Martha's Vineyard. The game was in many ways a repeat of Thursday’s contest, with exciting back-and-forth action throughout the contest, but a very different outcome on the scoreboard. The Wild tallied 3 goals and held off a late surge by Martha’s Vineyard to take home Bronze in a 3-2 victory.
Even more important than the hockey itself was the team bonding experience they had together. Bobsledding, meeting 5x stanley cup champion Pierre Bouchard, team meals, team pizza parties, tournament party and strolling downtown Lake Placid are just some of the things that made this weekend one that will be remembered by all.
GSW PW Minors
The trip to Lake Placid was a lesson in perseverance for the Wild PW Minors. The team took the ice down 3 members of their forward line and suffered some tough losses in round in preliminary play, but stayed tough and ultimately battled their way to victory in the Bronze Medal game.
The weekend started off with much excitement as the team hit the ice for a group skate on the 1980 Olympic Rink and opening ceremonies, and continued when the team was assigned Locker Room #5- the same locker room used by the US team during the 1980 games.
The Wild hit the ice on Thursday afternoon against a solid New Jersey Rockets team. Falling behind early 2-0, the Wild created a number of chances and held the Rockets to just one more goal, but couldn’t capitalize in a 3-0 loss.
Friday morning the Wild faced off against the Amherst (NY) Knights, scoring first and trading goals with the Knights through the first period, which ended 2-2. The balanced action continued until late in the 2nd period when the Knights picked up a pair of goals, followed by 4 in the 3rd in an 8-2 result.
Saturday’s skills competition was highlighted by a Shootout victory for Wild winger Ayden Lockard, who was the only competitor to net all 3 of his chances. Goalie Dylan Cossette and the team of Kyle Behan, Sawyer Levesque, Connor Gray and Logan Forest represented the Wild in the goalie skills and team relay.
Saturday afternoon the Wild hit the ice again, squaring off against the Protec (NJ) Ducks. The Ducks, who would go on to win the Challenge Cup, got ahead early and never looked back in a 5-0 victory. The loss sent the Wild to the Bronze medal game.
Sunday the PW Minors showed why determination and effort are often rewarded. They were met on the ice by a confident Amherst team that had beaten them 8-2 on Friday. This time the was quite different.
The Knights struck first, notching a goal just 1:25 into the contest and setting up what looked like a repeat of Friday’s contest. But the Wild fought back and tied the game 5 minutes later on a goal by Logan Forest. The Knights would score again later in the 1st, but the Wild answered with two goals in the 2nd period from Owen Kenney. A late Knights goal in the 2nd locked the game at 3-3 heading into the 3rd period.
The Wild jumped ahead again early in the 3rd period when Ayden Lockard sniped and celly’d a 4-3 lead that the black and gold refused to relinquish. Fighting to hold the lead for nearly 10 minutes, the Wild saw stellar goalkeeping from netminder Cole Harwood and lock down defense from Ben Thyng, Carter Bell, Kyle Behan and Connor Gray as they shocked the Knights and took home Bronze.