Bantam Twisters Ramp up Game to Go Undefeated Against Top Team with a Win & Tie, News, Bantam (Grand Valley Minor Hockey)

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Bantam Twisters Ramp up Game to Go Undefeated Against Top Team with a Win & Tie
Submitted By Sean Cassidy on Sunday, January 20, 2019
The Bantam Twisters have just completed the hardest part of their schedule, up against top teams in the past few weeks with back to back games against Shelburne and Flesherton who are battling it out for tops in the league. The games have been fast, furious, and highly entertaining. Below are summary notes about player performance over the past several games where the Bantam Twisters have really gelled as a team. Coaches Darryl Bell and Jamie Peeling have them peaking at the right time for the upcoming playoffs.

Jack M. – Jack had one of his best games of the year in the game 2 tie with Shelburne and launched four shots on net including a very close call on a one-timer slid to him in the slot by Cayden C. He is approaching the game with a renewed vigour, and it is now evident he was saving his best for last in these final few elite level games – no question he knew he needed juice left in the tank at the end of this long, grinding, punishing regular season. Coach Bell really likes his hard-charging mentality and the impressive forecheck he imposes on the opposition. This forecheck has paid off handsomely as he was plus 2 over the two Shelburne games and clearly a difference-maker when on the ice.

Ian J. – Coach Bell has been experimenting with this multi-talented player, and it turns out he is as skilled in the defensive position as he is on forward. The big hard-charging forward has demonstrated his worth on D, and this gives coaches Peeling and Bell the extra flexibility they need to fine tune their line-up against top teams like Shelburne. Ian’s versatility paid off with the win in Shelburne where he notched three assists to drive the Twisters to victory.

Nicole L. – Nicole has aggressively ramped up her forechecking in the past few games and gave the Shelburne team fits as she pressed the neutral zone and didn’t let them execute any passes or skate unencumbered through the zone. She covers her points and plays her positional game to a tee, and Coach Peeling commented that he knows when he delivers his advanced tactical pre-game speeches she will be one of the players who has digested and memorized everything he has said. Nicole can always be counted on to support her team on the ice with finesse plays and support her team on the bench with a positive attitude and a contagious level of enthusiasm.

Austin K. – Austin has really turned the corner in his game, and even playing against opponents two years older, he has demonstrated that he has the physicality and grit to play against the best there is at the Bantam level. Also, like Ian J., he has showcased his versatility by being highly effective on both wing and defence, and Coach Bell loves the fact that having him on the team creates strategic options. Coach Bell stated, “Austin is a very valuable player for us if we need a physical presence and hard shot on forward I can deploy him there, and if we need a shut-down D man, we can move him to the other end of the bench, and he will be equally effective.” His play is punctuated by his elite level shot, many scouts liken him to a younger version of Auston Matthews, and he put this devastating shot on display in Flesherton scoring a rocket to the top right corner. Not many players at any level can shoot like that.

Yaseen H. – Yaseen provided relentless pressure on the Shelburne net and unleashed several devastatingly effective clap bombs, one of which grazed off the post and clearly rattled the Shelburne goaltender and softened him up for later in the game. Coaches Bell and Peeling have really got Yaseen moving, and he is pressing the play and has become a forechecking specialist that strikes terror into the hearts of the opposition. This was very evident yesterday afternoon at home against Flesherton where he stepped over the blueline and delivered a cannonading blast that appeared as though it was going to miss everything, and then careened off the post into the net with a deafening ding and seemed to make the Flesherton goalie almost jump out of his skates.

Carter B. – Carter gelled and worked synergistically with his linemates Nicole L. & Jack M. and they started to really take the play to Shelburne, and each time they were on the ice were a triple threat. Carter’s cardio is unparalleled, and he forechecks and backchecks with reckless abandon and never seems to tire. This level of sustained pressure has continued to be too much for opposing teams to handle, and it showed with a pair of highlight reel goals in the win and tie versus Shelburne. Carter is one of the most consistently good players in Grand Valley’s arsenal of strong players, and he never seems to have an off night. When Coaches Bell and Peeling put Carter on the ice, they know good things will happen, and this is why Carter has led the team in scoring all year with his consistently solid play.

Cam L. – Cam is really entering his prime as he consistently peaks each year in preparation for playoffs and is playing at his strategic best making very efficient use of energy by ensuring he is in the right spot at the right time. Very similar to a Rod Langway style player he is primarily a big stay-at-home defenseman that throws a blanket on the other team’s offence as they enter the Twister’s zone. However, Cam has something that Langway was never able to develop – a natural scoring touch, and it is not uncommon to see him streak up the ice and dish off a creative pass or unleash a thunderous clap bomb.

Emmett J. – Emmett proved to be a Catalyst in the out of town victory against Shelburne. Shelburne was getting frustrated and a little chippy mid-way through the game as they couldn’t crack Grand Valley’s suffocating neutral zone lock that was led, in large part, by Emmett. He is considered a high energy player and plays his wing with a level of enthusiasm that is exhilarating to watch as he repeatedly foils the opposition’s efforts to make headway into the Twister’s zone. 

Cole B. – Cole is becoming a top defensive forward and uses his long reach to break up the other team’s plays, intercept passes, and anticipate their breakouts before they happen. He plays a tough, no-nonsense brand of hockey, but keeps it clean and rarely ends up in the box even though he makes the other team work for every inch of ice they get. Coach Peeling commented, “The other teams know they are in for a long night when they are matched up against Cole.” Cole is also a gifted playmaker, and is known to draw the other team’s D into the corner and then slip a sneaky pass into the slot for a highlight reel conversion.

Andrew C. – Andrew has been following a rigorous physical fitness program in his off-ice time, and his hard work and dedication are beginning to pay handsome dividends. He is a big power defence who relentlessly charges into corners to gobble the puck up for crisp outlet passes. The Twister’s forwards have grown accustomed to his incredible vision and passing ability and know, as soon as he gets the puck, they had better get on their horse and streak down the wings because it is highly likely they will be hit with a crisp pass on the tape. Andrew also confounds the opposition because their scouting reports clearly list him as a high-level passer and he will often confuse them and throw in an end-to-end rush, and his tremendous physical conditioning is allowing him to streak down the ice and still get back to cover his D position.

Darcy P. – Darcy has been an allstar this season, and his two games against Shelburne were nothing short of spectacular! Shelburne moves the puck very well and has some very heavy shooters, and Darcy faced a barrage of shots that he unconsciously and continuously turned aside in spectacular fashion. It got to the point that the Shelburne players became visibly frustrated and started to overthink their shots which led to many being missed high and wide. Darcy is a “big-game” goaltender and the higher the stakes, the better you know he will play. His mind-game is as strong as anyone’s, and the Bantam Twisters know he is the man to take them deep into playoff action.

Cayden C. – Cayden has been playing a new more physical brand of hockey which sees him continue with his crafty offensive moves but supplement it with more scrappy play to get in the lanes and foil the opposition’s sharpshooters. In the past, he would fall prey to toe drags as he was caught puck watching, but Coach Bell’s tutelage has paid off and turned him from a puck watcher into a player stopper. Cayden was taking away Shelburne’s lanes all game and combined with Andrew C. they formed a shutdown D that forced Shelburne to take long periphery shots on Darcy P. that he would deftly turn aside. Shane Workman, a Grand Valley hockey insider, commented, “When you’ve got Cayden and Andrew on D, you’ve got extra confidence, and the forwards can take some liberties to generate offence because they know they’ll be backed up.”

Owen T. – Under the guidance of coach Jamie Peeling, Owen has really blossomed into a threat at both ends of the ice. The scouting report on him used to be that he was primarily an offensive defenseman, but Coach Peeling always strives to ensure all his players are well balanced and as responsible in their own zone as they are in the offensive zone. Owen has the gift of tremendous speed and agility, and this allows him to take the puck in his zone and quickly transition to offence and either rush the puck and dish off or make a crisp outlet pass and follow the forwards up to create additional offence. Coaches Bell and Peeling know that Owen is a double threat and that is precisely the type of player they want and need on the team. As the team Captain, Owen is also very vocal on the bench, supporting his teammates and dispensing timely advice, as necessary, to ensure the Twister’s are always going in the right direction.

Avery B. – Avery has continued to demonstrate his nose for the net. He has the rare gift in hockey of knowing how to be in the right spot at the right time. On ice awareness and anticipation of where the puck is going are two of the most important and difficult to coach skills, and Avery has both in spades. Despite being three years younger than many of his opponents, he has scored some key goals for the Bantams, and his older peers have come to rely on him as a clutch goal scorer. If you need a big goal at a desperate time, Avery is your man.

Quinn A. – Quinn has really upped his game in the second half of the year. Much like Jack M., he has definitely saved the best for last. There is no question playing strong, tough teams like Shelburne and Flesherton are challenging for any player, but Quinn has a knack for rising to the challenge in these critical games, and he put the proverbial dagger through Shelburne’s heart scoring the insurance goal in the Twister’s big win. Quinn plays a very fast brand of hockey and forces other teams to react quickly with his ferocious forecheck and when he picks up the puck in the neutral zone, with a head-of-steam built up, there are few players in the league that can hope to catch him. Most just pop a quarter in and hang on for the ride as Quinn takes off like a jet to the net.

The regular season is now complete, and the Bantam Twisters have finished in fifth place in their division which is an excellent result for the year. Based on the merit of this high placing, it is likely that the Twisters will be placed in the top-seeded pool for the playoffs which will make for a very challenging and competitive playoff run. However, as demonstrated by these past few games, the Bantam Twisters have proven they can play with the best and beat the best teams in the league, and don’t be surprised if Coaches Bell and Peeling don’t have more tricks up their sleeves to help this high achieving team succeed in post-season play.

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