MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!, News, Bantam Rep - Louie's Pizza & Pasta, 2016-2017 (Ingersoll & District Minor Hockey)

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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!
Submitted By Jason Graham on Tuesday, March 21, 2017
On Sunday March 19th the Louie’s Pizza and Pasta Bantam Rep team returned from Midland as OMHA champions.


With victories over the Penetang Flames Saturday and Sunday, the Express achieved something very special, completing a clean sweep of every team they faced in the OMHA playoffs this season. An upbeat, confident busload of Ingersoll players, parents and fans arrived in Midland ahead 1-0 in the series, having shut out the Flames 4-0 on March 11th. In game two, the Flames came out flying, determined to burn the Express early, knowing that a second straight loss to Ingersoll would all but extinguish any hope of an OMHA championship. Penetang had our boys back on their heels for much of the first period, but goaltender Logan White was solid, and the game remained scoreless after one period. The Flames gave their boisterous fans reason to celebrate, scoring the game’s first goal on the powerplay just six seconds into the middle frame. Less than two minutes later Ingersoll responded with a powerplay goal of their own, Isaac Westlake scoring his first of the game with help from energetic, hardworking line mates Parker Hodgson and Joel Verspeeten. Penetang regained the lead at 10:45. The teams traded some big hits, Symon Hutcheson slamming into white jerseys at every opportunity. Ethan Emerson treated the fans to one of his Bobby Orr offensive outbursts, rushing the length of the ice, circling the net and firing a missile just wide of the right post. With a great second effort, pesky forward Isaac Westlake potted his second powerplay goal, again with help from creative play maker Parker Hodgson. Ingersoll ran into penalty trouble in the third, but managed to weather the storm. With seven minutes remaining on the clock, Westlake converted a pass from Joel Verpeeten, scoring his third powerplay goal of the night. Two minutes later feisty Verspeeten put Ingersoll up 4 to 2. The desperate Flames pulled their goalie in the dying minutes but the Express held them off, pushing Penetang to the brink of elimination leading into Sunday’s game three match up. The Flames came into the third game of the series with nothing to lose, down two games to zip and facing a talented group of well coached and determined Ingersoll boys with their sites set on an OMHA championship, and the coveted “red hats” that were just 45 minutes of hard work away. Ingersoll was able to kill off a pair of minor penalties in the first, but failed to take advantage of three powerplay opportunities of their own. After 15 minutes of back and forth play the score remained 0-0. Half way through the second period Brennan Rupert finally put Ingersoll on the board, beating the Flames’ goalie with a vicious slap shot from the blue line. With the Express clinging to a one goal lead, the home team pressed for the equalizer but were denied time and time again. Forwards Ben White, Dayton Racicot, Mick Donker and Christian Lee, along with defenseman Ben Brown, worked tirelessly to smother the Flames and keep them off the scoreboard. Presented with several powerplay opportunities in the third, neither team was able to find the back of the net. As the minutes ticked down, Ingersoll was doing an effective job of maintaining possession, playing with discipline and controlling the pace of the game. With less than five minutes on the clock however, the Flames were presented with an excellent opportunity to tie things up when Rupert was assessed six minutes in penalties. Tensions rose in the stands as Penetang pulled their goaltender for a sixth attacker. Ingersoll’s four skaters, including reliable, steady defencemen Nathan Graham and Daniel Martineau, held the Flames at bay until Parker Hodgson was able to drift a shot down the ice into the empty Penetang net with 1:28 left to play. With back-up goaltender Seth Clark cheering from the bench, the Express held on to defeat the Flames 2-0 , sweeping the series 3 games to 0. Congratulations to the Bantam boys and to head coach Jason Graham, assistant coaches Craig Verspeeten and Greg Bryant, trainer Steve Hodgson and team manager Dean Hutcheson. The coaching staff look great sporting those red hats!! (But not nearly as cute as the moms in the stands wearing Express jerseys). This OMHA championship team will now turn its attention to doing battle against the Simcoe Stars in the Southern Counties semi-final game later this week. GO EXPRESS!

Submitted by M. Martineau
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