Bantam reps win International Silver Stick

The Oxford Pallet Norwich Knighthawk bantam rep hockey team won the 2018 International Silver Stick championship at the tournament in Forest over the Jan. 20 weekend.

The Oxford Pallet Norwich Knighthawk bantam rep hockey team won the 2018 International Silver Stick championship at the tournament in Forest over the Jan. 20 weekend.

What do you get when you have phenomenal forwards, devastating defense and glorious goaltending? You get the 2018 International Silver Stick Champion Oxford Pallet Norwich Knighthawk bantam reps.

After winning the regional Silver Stick tournament in Watford three weeks ago, the Knighthawk bantam reps traveled to Forest in Lambton Shores Jan. 19-21 to meet up with all the other winners from the qualifying Silver Stick tournaments in North America. With teams traveling from the United States and all over Canada, the parking lot was filled with busses and colourful license plates.

Friday, Jan. 19 saw the Knighthawks face off against a strong Seaforth Stars, but the Stars were no match on the big ice surface for the speedy Norwich bantams who won the game 5-3.

The second game came that same evening was against the formidable West Grey Warriors. Again, the caliber of the Oxford Pallet bantams with their speedy forwards, timely scoring, tight defense and great goaltending out-played and out-scored the West Grey Warriors 3-1.

With winning the first two games, it secured the Knighthawks a place in the semifinal, but they would have to play the Lambton Shores Predators to see where they would end up in the standings. Jan. 20 the Knighthawks dominated most of the play but they could not get a winner, and even after a 10-minute overtime the score was tied 3-3, sending the game into a shootout. As the first Predator went down the Ice, Norwich goalie Ben Serrador was able to make the save. With two of the Oxford Pallet bantams scoring and Serrador making another great save, the Nowich Knighthawks won the shootout and the game.

With winning all three games, that placed Norwich a half point behind the Douro Dukes, which meant Norwich would play against the third place team in the semifinals on Sunday, which happened to be the Lambton Shores Predators.

This game saw the Oxford Pallet bantams dominate the Predators and with a 5-2 win, the Knighthawks clinched a place in the International Silver Stick finals against the Douro Dukes who had also gone undefeated through the tournament.

When the final game started, it was evident that the Douro Dukes deserved to be in the finals; the play was fast and went back and forth. Both teams were evenly matched. Douro drew first blood and went up 1-0, but the Knighthawks pushed back and tied it up. Back and forth the play went with chances on both sides but Serrador was on top of his game between the posts. Then the Knighthawks scored to make it 2-1 going into the third.

The Oxford Pallet bantams scored again to make it 3-1, but not for long. The Dukes came right back and scored, putting them within one goal again, and then with three minutes remaining the Knighthawks found themselves trying to kill off a two-man advantage power play for the Dukes. Five-on-three for two minutes, however, the boys killed it off. The Dukes pulled their goalie and threw everything they had at Norwich but were unable to tie it up and as the buzzer sounded, it was the Norwich Knighthawks that were throwing their gloves in the air and hugging each other as International Silver Stick Champions.

Congrats to Ben Serrador, Gavin Leonard and Travis Vermeersch who were named on the tournament all star team along with three players from Douro.

Special thanks to coaches Jared, Daryl, Roger and Steve for putting so much effort and time in with these boys, this is something they will remember for the rest of their lives.