Amherstburg Minor Bantams win International Silver Stick Finals Title


Special to the RTT

The Amherstburg Stars Minor Bantams (98’s) won the Association’s first-ever International Silver Stick finals Championship.  The Silver Stick is the most prestigious minor hockey tournament in North America.  In order to earn a place in the finals, a team must win a Regional Qualifier tournament in 2011, which the Stars did in November, winning the Woodstock Regional Qualifier.

Front (L to R): Jack Langlois, Tristan Van Wieringen Middle (L to R): Jarrod Benninger, Colton McGregor, Josh Rice, Jake Topliffe, Nick Bertram, Jack Hubbell, Garret Blunt, Justin Veldhuis, Riley Brown Back (L to R): Rick Hubbell (manager), Bob Mathieson (head coach), Dave Langlois (ass't coach), John Purdie, Brandon Speller, Reid Thrasher, Demitri Bertoni, Denny Lafleur, Zack Yott, Rick Lafleur (ass't coach), Stu Bertram (trainer)

The Stars went 2-1 in Round Robin play, losing their first game to Centre Wellington Fusion 3-0 and then defeating the Mississippi Thunder Kings 3-0 and the three-time defending OMHA playdown champion Cobourg Cougars 5-3.  This put the Stars in second place in their Division, earning a semi-final showdown with the Southpoint Capitals, whom the Stars defeated in the semi-final game by a score of 2-1 in dramatic fashion – on goals by Jake Topliffe in the first period and by Denny Lafleur with 38 seconds to go in the third period.

The Championship game was a re-match with Centre Wellington on Sunday afternoon.  After the Stars opened the scoring early in the first period on a goal by Zack Yott, the Fusion fought back to tie the score early in the third.  After much effort and hard work, Jarrod Benninger scored the Stars go-ahead goal at the midway point of the third, and then Amherstburg held off a furious comeback attempt by Centre Wellington.

Leading point-getters in the tournament for Amherstburg were Garret Blunt (4 goals; 2 assists), Justin Veldhuis (2 goals; 2 assists) and Zack Yott (1 goal; 3 assists).  Goaltender Jack Langlois was named the MVP of the Championship Game by the Silver Stick tournament committee.

As a result of winning a Silver Stick Finals championship, the Stars will have their team name engraved on a plaque in the permanent Silver Stick display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Congratulations to all the players and coaching staff of the Amherstburg Stars Minor Bantam hockey team.

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