Tillsonburg Dyco Tool Oldtimers peewee hockey team won back-to-back tournaments earlier this season, and when Silver Stick rolls around later this month in Pelham, the Tornadoes would like to make it three straight.
“We’re starting to gear up for Silver Stick,” nodded Dyco Tool Oldtimers peewee coach Mark Brazier, noting the team has an overall record of 20-plus wins, three losses and three ties. “We should have, as of now, our full roster for Silver Stick.”
In Southern Counties action Sunday afternoon at the Kinsmen Memorial Arena, the Tornadoes tied Tavistock again, this time 2-2.
“We’re playing well, but we’re dealing with injuries, too. We only have one (league) loss all year, and we haven’t lost since they split the teams into A and B (divisions). I think we’re 5-0-1 in that stretch, and Tavistock… they are one of the top teams too.”
Tillsonburg finished Sunday’s game with nine skaters.
“We started with one sick, one hurt, and then had two go down during the game. We still got a tie out of it, so…”
Good goaltending has been a hallmark of the team with Colin Nesplic, who played Sunday, and Jordan Harrison playing an even, full-game rotation.
Tied 2-2, Nesplic made one of his best saves on a Tavistock two-on-one with 11:05 left to play, diving to the left side of the crease and stretching out his catching glove to knock the puck off the Tavistock shooter’s stick.
“We do have good goaltending,” Brazier nodded.
Two minutes later Nesplic came up with a big glove save on a rising shot – with nearly half the net open – toward the end of a Tavistock power play.
Tavistock goalie Braeden Roth was equally hot at the other end robbing Shane Brazier from the side of the crease on a one-timer with 1:44 on the clock. The Tornadoes’ assistant captain was bumped from behind after the save, drawing a penalty, but Tillsonburg was unable to net the winner in the final two minutes with the man advantage.
Tavistock's game-tying goal with 2:01 left in the second, just 27 seconds after Brazier’s second goal of the game gave the home side a 2-1 lead, was a case of ‘not getting the puck deep and a neutral zone turnover.’
“And the next thing you know it’s in the back of our net,” Mark Brazier shrugged.
Southern Counties has done East/West divisions in past years, and divided into A/B for playoffs, but the A/B system traditionally only happened during regular season at the local (house) league level.
“Apparently they’re going to split them again for playoffs, but I’m not sure. They could divide them into A, B and C. We’ve got four new teams from Grand Valley, on a trial basis. Twin Centre, St. George, Tavistock and Ayr.”
Tillsonburg will not see Caledonia, a rival in recent years, until playoffs.
In October, the Tornadoes won an A tournament in St. Thomas.
“We were the only BB team, the other seven teams were all A,” said Brazier, recalling a thrilling Oct. 19-21 tourney championship.
“We went 2-1 – we beat West London and North York, then we lost to Whitby. That qualified us for semifinals against our (just promoted to A) rivals, New Hamburg, and we beat them in overtime.
“Then we had a rematch against Whitby (undefeated at that point) and we beat Whitby in the finals.”
Tillsonburg also won the peewee crown in the TMHI Roy Beechey Memorial tournament the next weekend.
“We were undefeated to win the A championship. We played Port Stanley, Erin-Hillsburg, then we got a bye into the finals and we beat Petrolia.
“It’s been a good year – we’re happy with the way it’s been going. We’ve got some things we need to work on, but it’s coming…”
Tillsonburg 2, Tavistock 2
Tornadoes scoring: 1. Shane Brazier (Lucas Deutsch, Curtis Collver); 2. Shane Brazier (Lucas Deutsch).