In the PSHF this year we have played over 360 games and saw hockey from Windsor Ont. to Halifax Nova Scotia with teams who struggled to find their identity and teams who impressed every time they touched the ice. It all comes down to playing for the cup and putting your best on the ice. This past weekend was spectacular for its spirit and energy. You could not walk into the rink at the CIH arenas and miss it.
The members of the PSHF play each other throughout the season plus teams from across North America and beyond. This year included teams from China, Denmark, and the USA. We always welcome guests schools because that competition is what is awesome about athletics in school programs, you learn from variety and new experiences. The challenges of that prepares and fosters true development in players and teams. Our proof of that is in the playoff games where each team displayed a determination to be the team to have bragging rights and come out on top.
The event brought out 44 scouts from the OHL, QMJHL, USHL,CCHL, OJHL and it had viewers on Hockey TV from around the world. The final outcome at the U16 age group was a hard fought playoff. Teams like KES, BCS and Newbridge all season battled back and forth to establish the top club. Hiding in the bull rushes, however, was a team that had not found a consistency to its play in previous showcases or a way to beat the top 3 teams. They had a lot of heart and sometimes gave great game but coming into this weekend they were just hoping to be able to get the 4th spot and take their chances.
After the first elimination they took 3rd spot and end up playing a very talented KES team in the Semi-final where they won 3-2 and got to the big game. However, they would be facing the 1st place regular season winner Newbridge Academy, a team well coached and with individual players who all of the Scouts are talking about. The Blyth Academy team is also well coached and has solid goaltending and a group whom might just be coming to realize the potential they have.
In a game full of intensity and speed both clubs came to play. This is evident by huge saves by both goalies and players blocking pucks with bodies sore from battling the past 3 days to get here. Blyth Academy was leading after 2 period 2-1 and came out in the third to a Newbridge team ready to claim back their game. Newbridge scored to tie the game with 3 mins left in the 3rd and sends this to OT. In the first minute of the OT a Blyth player slashes the stick of his Newbridge competitor and is sent to the penalty box for 2 minutes. This would be a huge penalty kill for the boys from Blyth as Newbridge has a deadly effective power play. During those 2 minutes the crowd was rabid as both schools supporters collectively held their breath as the Cougars’ goalie made save after save. Blyth killed the penalty and an awkward line change catches Newbridge scrabbling back to defend an attacking Blyth player who scores to propel his team to become U16 Champions from Blyth Academy for the second year in a row.
What a playoff, what a great showing by all the teams!
The 2017-2018 U16 Champions Blyth Academy Prep Cougars