East Coast Ice Jam Tournament Wrap Up
The varsity U18 team made it to the final four of the prestigious East Coast Ice Jam tournament this past weekend.
After playing the top 3 teams in the NSMMHL (Cole Harbour, CB West, Dartmouth) during round robin play, the team found itself with a hard earned 1-1-1 record. The team was led offensively by Alberto Pison (6G, 1A); Cameron Patton (0G, 6A); Olivier Gauthier (1G, 3A); and Matt Duggan (2G, 1A). Defensively, Both Thomson Phinney and Avery Heath were fantastic between the pipes. After all teams had completed round robin play, Newbridge found themselves as the 14th seed and would face the Tri-Pen Osprey from Newfoundland in the round of 16.
For their first playoff game, the boys picked up right where they left off in round robin play. They scored the first three goals of the game; coming from the sticks of Ashton Paul, John Farrell, and Olivier Gauthier on the power play. However, Tri-Pen added a late marker to make it a 3-1 game after the first. Gauthier added a shorthanded marker early in the second frame, but ultimately the team took some undisciplined penalties and let the Osprey back into the game with a power play goal to make it 4-2 after two. Thanks to another goal from John Farrell and the seventh of the tournament from Alberto Pison, the team came away with a 6-3 victory. Goaltender Avery Heath was great in the cage, making some huge saves, including a handful during a two minute 6 on 3 power play for the osprey halfway through the final period. The team quickly learned that they would be matched up with pre-tournament favourite and Monctonian champion Moncton Flyers in the quarterfinals later that night.
Playing in front of a large crowd of scouts and supporters alike, the Newbridge boys again came hard out of the gate. They traded blow for blow with a very good Moncton team throughout the first two periods in a back and forth affair. Finally, they were rewarded on a goal from, not surprisingly, Danish sniper Alberto Pison with 9 seconds remaining to take a 1-0 lead into the final frame. The teams’ penalty kill was good all tournament, but eventually it succumbed to Moncton’s power play halfway through the period. The teams traded chances, but nobody was able to beat the two hot goaltenders. The penalty killers were again called upon to stave off a power play for the last ninety seconds of regulation and send the game to overtime. After killing off the remaining thirty seconds of the penalty, the teams assumed 3 on 3 for the remainder of OT. The fans did not have to wait long for Christophe Bohemier to dangle around the Flyer defender and roof it on the goaltender. It was a highlight real move and was a big moment for the Newbridge faithful in the stands. After a quick celebration, Thomson Phinney, who was spectacular throughout the contest, was named game MVP. The win would set up a rematch with the CB West Islanders in the semi-finals.
After winning 5-2 during the round robin, it was clear that the Islanders were looking to avenge their loss. After finishing as the 15th seed, they had knocked off both Dartmouth and Pictou County to earn their way into the semis. The Islanders got off to the early lead with 2 quick goals. However, a resilient effort was put forth by Newbridge to try to get back in the game. Despite having numerous chances, they were unable to beat tournament top goaltender Colten Ellis and fell 3-0. Not to be overlooked is the once again spectacular play of goaltender Thomson Phinney, who kept his team in the game and battled hard through to the final whistle. The Islanders would go on to defeat the Halifax Macs to become 2017 Ice Jam champions.
Although they did not win the tournament, the team certainly caught the attention of opponents, fans, and scouts. They represented the school with class and pride and competed hard throughout the tournament.
“I am extremely proud of every single one of our players. The were focused and worked their tails off every second of every shift. Right from the goaltending out, everyone contributed to the success of the team, and I was happy to see them get rewarded for all the work they’ve been putting into this season. We got big saves and big goals at key times, and that’s what it takes to win at this level. It’s not the end result we were looking for, but overall it will help make us better as we push towards our league championships. I also want to thank all of the staff, students, and families of Newbridge who showed up at the rink in droves to watch the games and support us! We could not have done it without you.”
Of special note, Alberto Pison was named to the first all star team of the the tournament. Overall, Pison had 8 goals and an assist in 6 games, against very tough competition.
The U18 and U16 teams now look forward to travelling to Montreal for the next PSHF showcase this weekend.