The Tillsonburg Underhill’s Farm Supply AE Peewees proved they could both take a hit and fill up the net through a see-saw 7-4 Bob Tansley Memorial AE Tournament B Championship victory over Wasaga Beach last Sunday afternoon in the Colin Campbell Arena.
Both qualities were in evidence on the game-winning goal, Logan Savoy’s second of the contest. Tillsonburg defenceman Kenny Coyle did not show up on the gamesheet, but was crucial to the play. He hung tough at the left point with an opponent bearing down on him, keeping the puck in at the line and feeding it into the corner.
Coyle took a hard hit, regained his skates and began heading toward his bench.
Unseen by the Underhill’s Farm Supply AE peewee defender, teammate Evan Buchanan picked up the puck in the corner, centring it to Savoy standing roughly between the hash marks in front of the Wasaga Beach net. He took the pass there, firing it upstairs into the top right corner, touching off a celebration Coyle was able to pick up peripherally.
“I saw the crowd go wild and the fans jump up.”
Savoy’s marker put would put Tillsonburg ahead for good with 3:02 remaining in the third period, although given the see-saw nature of the game thus far, that fact was by no means a given at the time.
Logan Partlo’s second of the contest, a power-play marker off the right wing brought victory into a little clearer focus with 1:02 remaining in regulation. And Tillsonburg kept it coming, with Duncan McLean laying a hard hit on Wasaga Beach’s Matthew Parent before rounding a four-point outing by burying his second of the game with 27 seconds left on the clock.
McLean scored two similar third-period goals from about 10 feet, roofing the first into a yawning cage, and wristing the second just off the ice with Wasaga Beach goalie Dylan Halliday well out of position.
“I’ve always tried for the occasional deke, but it doesn’t work out,” said McLean. “I go for the ‘dirty’ goals.”
Wasaga Beach’s Dominick Oaldas had opened scoring with 2:10 left in the first period, a goal countered by Tillsonburg’s AJ Vanhaelewyn, benefiting after McLean picked off clearing attempt in the Wasaga Beach zone. The visitors went up 2-1 on a shot off the left wing tipped in front at the 10-minute second frame’s 6:25 mark, but Savoy squared accounts on a tipped slapshot 2:14 prior to the period’s close on assists to Brady Scruton and McLean. Partlo put the home side ahead 3-2 with 42.4 seconds left on the clock off a rush down the left wing, and on an assist to twin brother Landon.
The lead was short-lived however as Oaldas netted his second of the game just 16 seconds into the third. The visitors retook the lead, 4-3 with 6:40 remaining in the frame courtesy of Ryan Thomson, but McLean responded by roofing his own rebound home (assisted by Savoy) with 6:20 left on the clock. Savoy’s game-winner broke a modest 3:28 scoring drought in a 10-minute period featuring a total of six goals.
Given the game, every puck in the back of the net was necessary said Savoy, welcoming ‘every goal we could get.
“It was a tight game until the third period. But we got a pretty good lead and we kept going and we won.”
The game was rougher than the Underhill Farm Supply AE peewees are used to, said coach Derek Partlo, noting his squad has experienced 15 games of body contact hockey, but nothing like the level of intensity faced Sunday afternoon.
The game provided a form of wakeup call, he continued, for a team which had come out flat during earlier tournament games, including a loss that morning.
“Even in the games we won, we didn’t have a lot of jump,” he said. “But they came out hitting and we had to respond or get beat up. It was nice to see the response, the push back.”
And despite his disappointment at Sunday morning’s defeat, Partlo anticipates elements of the B final victory will contain positives moving forward.
“It was a good response to a lacklustre loss this morning. This is a lesson we can learn from - hopefully we’ll be ready going into Silver Stick in December.”