Regional Silver Stick title for midgets

Section: 
Sports

By Josh Howald

The Kincardine Miller Insurance midget Kinucks are Regional Silver Stick champions.

The Kincardine Miller Insurance midget Kinucks won the Wingham Regional Silver Stick championship Sunday with an overtime win over Ayr. (submitted photo)

 

Captain Rhys Vollmer scored at 6:12 of overtime to give the midgets a 2-1 win over Ayr and a ticket to the International Silver Stick Finals in Forest in January. The win also ended a Silver Stick drought for Kincardine's midget program that dates back to 2013. Kincardine won the International Silver Stick championship in 2012, but hasn't won the regional tournament in Wingham since.

"It was a real important tournament for us and we had it circled on our calendar since last November," said head coach Cory Hamilton on Sunday night. "We've struggled at this tournament and it feels extra special because it's the third kick at the cat for a few of these guys."

The midgets didn't cruise through the tourney. In fact, after a opening the Wingham Regional Silver Stick with a 3-0 win over BCH, the midgets suffered their first loss of the season. Goderich defeated the Kinucks 3-1 on Nov. 14. That made the remainder of the preliminary games important, and the Kinucks responded. Kincardine dumped Twin Centre 5-2 on Saturday to earn a spot in Sunday morning's semi-final against Tavistock.

"To see the guys bounce back the way they did, it is kudos to all of the players - with a special nod to our backbone goaltender Jamie Brock," said Hamilton.

Brock was very good all weekend, and in Sunday's two games in particular. He came up clutch when his teammates were having trouble finding the back of the net, said Hamilton.

"Everybody bought in and played hard all weekend, but we were a little bit snake-bitten for goals (on Sunday). We seemed to be around the net in both games, but we did run into some sharp goalies and just couldn't finish like I think we are capable of."

The Kinucks squeaked out a 2-1 win in Sunday morning's semi-final game, which Kincardine thought would get them a second chance at Goderich.

However, in the other semi-final game Ayr knocked off Goderich in overtime to advance to the Regional Silver Stick championship game.

After a scoreless first period, Chase Meurs scored to give Kincardine a 1-0 lead early in the second period. Connor Gibson assisted on the goal. Kincardine held onto that narrow lead until late in the third period. With five minutes and change to go, Eric Stranz scored for Ayr to tie things up and force an extra period.

That set the stage for Vollmer's overtime winner. Riley Cherrett and Meurs each had an assist on Vollmer's tournament winning tally.

With the win, Kincardine qualifies for the International Silver Stick tournament in Forest, which begins Jan. 6. The Kinucks will open the tournament against the champion of the Petrolia Regional Silver Stick tournament.

The win also gives Kincardine an impressive overall record of 21-1-1.

"I can speak for all of the coaching staff when I say these guys are a fun bunch to coach," said Hamilton. "They want to be better every time we get to the rink, and are fuelled by a desire to win - it is a great mix."

Hamilton also thanked the convenors of the Wingham Regional Silver Stick for organizing a great week of entertaining hockey.

Kincardine will be in action again tonight (Wednesday) at home to West-Grey. Tonight's game begins at 8:30 p.m. The midgets will also be in action tomorrow (Thursday) night in Shallow Lake at 8:30 p.m. Then Shallow Lake will be in Tiverton for a rematch on Sunday evening at 8:30 p.m.