Bantams three-peat at Hawks tourney, News (Orillia Girls Hockey Association)

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Bantams three-peat at Hawks tourney
Submitted By Executive on Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Packet and Times Article by Dave Dawson

An Orillia Hawks defender forces an Oshawa Lady Generals forward to the outside during heated second-period action Sunday in the championship game of the Bantam BB division at the 21st Orillia Hawks Girls’ Hockey Tournament. Orillia won 3-1 to garner gold – the lone local squad to turn the trick at the 101-team event that took over seven area arenas.

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What a weekend of hockey. The 21st annual Orillia Hawks Girls’ Hockey Tournament wrapped up Sunday with championship games in 16 divisions, and when the final gold medal was handed out, 101 teams from across the province had competed in more than 185 games at seven arenas around the region.

Among those 101 teams were 10 local squads flying the Orillia Hawks colours and they did not disappoint. In all, five of the Hawks teams battled their way to gold-medal games, but the local Bantam BB team was the only one to enjoy the sweet taste of victory.

For that hard-working, talented squad, it was their third straight Hawks tourney title; they won the last two as peewees. The Hawks opened their three-peat quest Friday morning with a 1-1 draw against the North Halton Twisters. Orillia then blanked the Bluewater Hawks 2-0 Friday afternoon before winning a critical 2-1 decision over the Barrie Sharks Saturday at the Gravenhurst Centennial Centre. It was the first time in four contests against Barrie this season that Orillia prevailed. Emma Foley earned the win in net for the Hawks, while Erin Gravelle and Amy Curran scored to pace the offence.

That set up a gold-medal showdown Sunday afternoon at Rotary Place against the Oshawa Lady Generals. The Hawks’ Emma Torkoff tallied an early power-play goal to help the home side jump ahead, but the Lady Generals tied the game with 35 seconds left in the opening frame. In the second period, the Generals had several point-blank chances, which goalie Andrea Jackson stopped, keeping her team in the game.

In the third, the Hawks found their legs and began to carry the play. Jessica Wenzel, on defence, scored on a beautiful individual effort to lift her team to a 2-1 advantage and, 45 seconds later, Maya Crawford scored to provide some insurance. After the home team’s two-goal outburst, the Lady Generals were mostly held to the outside by the Hawks’ tenacious checkers, and Jackson was there to make the save when called upon to ensure Orillia could net its three-peat.

It was not, however, a storybook ending for the four other local teams that worked hard to earn berths in their respective divisional championships. For those Hawks entries, excellent tournament runs ended with heartbreaking defeats Sunday.

In peewee B division play, Orillia was edged 1-0 by Grand River in a thrilling title game Sunday. The Hawks had defeated the North Huron Blades 6-1 and beat Grand River 2-1 on Friday before topping the Haldimand River Rats 1-0 Saturday to earn a spot in the title game.

It was a similar script for the Hawks peewee house-league team. The Hawks blanked North Simcoe 2-0 Friday and edged the Oshawa Lady Generals 2-1 Saturday, before winning a 1-0 contest against North Simcoe in the semis. But in the title game, the Norfolk Hericanes blanked Orillia 2-0 to earn the gold medal.

In atom house-league action, Orillia defeated Aurora 3-1, beat Sudbury 4-1 and then edged the Almaguin Gazelles 2-1 to earn a berth in the championship game. In that do-or-die contest at the Rama MASK, the Panthers found revenge with a 3-0 triumph to garner gold.

In atom B division play, the host Hawks looked unbeatable Friday as they blanked Peterborough 4-0 and then shut out Belleville 2-0. Saturday, the Hawks beat the Sudbury Lady Wolves 2-1 and then got the best of the North Halton Twisters 2-1 Sunday morning. But in a Sunday-afternoon rematch with Belleville at Rotary Place, Orillia fell just short, dropping a 3-2 decision.

With one gold medal and four silver medals, it was an impressive showing by the local teams at the popular tournament that seems to grow each year. This year’s event, which featured games at Rotary Place, Brian Orser Arena, the MASK, the Oro-Medonte Community Arena, the Coldwater Community Centre, the East Bayfield Arena in Barrie and the Gravenhurst Centennial Centre, was the largest in the tournament’s 21-year history.

For complete results, check out the tournament page at orilliagirlshockey.com.

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