Over the last couple of weeks the Lions Pee Wee Reps have been battling the Ilderton Jets in the OMHA Semi Finals and what a series it was!!!!
In Game 1 the Ilderton Jets traveled to Goderich to face the Sailors at MRC, where they have been almost unbeatable on home ice. Ilderton came out strong taking a 2-0 lead into the second period, however the Sailors were not going away quietly and battled back to tie the game at two heading to the third period. Unfortunately the Jets were able to squeeze one in late in the third to take the game 3-2 and a 1-0 series lead.
The Sailors did not have time to dwell on this loss as they had to travel to Ilderton less than 24 hours later. The boys played incredible, putting up a stingy defensive game and scoring on their opportunities tying the series with one win each, skating to a 4-2 victory.
While playing in the OMHA semi finals the boys still had to participate in the WOAA round robin series as well. No rest for the wicked as the boys played 3 WOAA games after Games 1 & 2 against Ilderton....took a couple days off for some well deserved rest and got right back at it for Game 3 in Goderich.
Again, the boys played their hearts out, outshooting Ilderton 28-16, but as the coaching staff stated sometimes in playoffs you run into a hot goalie. The Sailors lost Game 3 3-1 and found themselves with their backs against the wall and their season on the line.
But don't count this team out yet!!!! Even though injuries were starting to pile up, the amount of time this team committed to off ice training sure paid off as they found themselves with only 9 skaters heading to Ilderton for Game 4.....and what a game it was. With Ilderton up 2-1 halfway through the 3rd period, the Lions Pee Wee Reps thought they tied it up, however the officials were not in the best position and did not see the puck cross the goal line. The team did not let this bump in the road stop them as they continued to battle and tied the game up at 2-2 with just over three minutes left to play. With one minute left in regulation, an unfortunate bounce led to Ilderton going up 3-2 on a breakaway goal. However this team does not know the meaning of quit. With the goalie pulled for the extra attacker the Sailors bulged the twine with just 30 seconds remaining tying the game 3-3 and sending it to overtime.
In overtime, this team dug so deep and the coaches and parents could not have been more proud as they salvaged a 3-3 tie sending the series to Game 5 in Goderich.
Game 5 saw the injury bug continue to bite the Lions Pee Wee Reps and three affiliated players were asked to step in and help out for the biggest game of the season. Again.....what a game. Down 1-0 after the second period, where again the Sailors outplayed the Jets but just had nothing on the scoreboard to show for it, these boys never quit. The pumped each other up in the intermission daunted to play an incredible third period. The momentum swung the Sailors way only a couple minutes into the final frame where they scored two quick goals and took a 2-1 lead. However Ilderton was not going to quit either and these teams battled back and forth until Ilderton tied the game 2-2 with just over four minutes remaining.
You guessed it.....another game heading to overtime. In overtime these teams continued to battle and the Sailors pounded pucks on net, picked each other up when they were absolutely exhausted and continued to move forward. However it was not meant to be as Ilderton picked up a bouncing puck with 1:07 remaining in overtime and tucked it into the Sailors net for a 3-2 win and series win.
As a coaching staff and a parent .....I could not be more proud of this team. They dedicated the entire season both on and off the ice to make it this deep into the playoffs and were one win away from making it to the OMHA Finals....no small feat for a team that people were unsure how they would do this season. But from tryouts on, this team bought into hardwork, dedication and team first environment which made them extremely successful. Don't hang your heads boys, I know I speak for each of your parents and for all of the coaching staff that you guys exemplified the true meaning of a "TEAM".