Bantams Drop 1st Playoff Game in Coldwater, News, Bantam, 2018-2019 (Grand Valley Minor Hockey)

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Bantams Drop 1st Playoff Game in Coldwater
Submitted By Hudson Cassidy on Sunday, February 10, 2019
Game Summary:

The Bantam Twisters rolled into Coldwater Saturday afternoon after an extended layoff ready to get the rust off their blades and out of their joints. The parents had luck on their side as the weather cooperated and provided some much-needed sunlight on the, approximately, 1 hour, 36 minute, 27 second drive from Grand Valley. Coach Darryl Bell made the right call by signalling this game was a go – he had been reviewing the Weather Network and 511Roads diligently and knew the previous day’s lake effect squalls had cleared up earlier in the morning.

The game got off to a rocky start as Coldwater attacked with a vengeance from the puck drop and hemmed the Twisters into their own zone for extended periods of time. If not for the outstanding play of goaltender Darcy P., stopping 13 of 14 first period shots, the game could have ended much differently.

Darcy P’s world-class goaltending seemed to frustrate the Coldwater Wildcats, and the tide started to turn midway through the second as the Twisters began to find their stride and take the game to the Wildcats. As the horn sounded signalling the second intermission, it was anybody’s game as the players went into their dressing rooms tied 1-1.

The third period was a back and forth exhilarating experience as both sides threw their best at the opposing nets, and Coach Jamie Peeling’s extensive hockey acumen started to show as he got the line match-ups he was looking for and began neutralizing Coldwater’s top players with his veteran D-men.

Grand Valley Minor Hockey President Brett Lyons was on-hand to observe the Bantams first playoff game with his discerning eye and knew that it was highly likely whichever team struck first in the third would have the advantage in this hard-fought battle of attrition.

Unfortunately for the Twisters, Coldwater broke the ice and put the second goal in first and this left the Bantams searching for ways to equalize the score. Coaches Darryl Bell and Jamie Peeling knew the time was right to do something dramatic and they called a timeout with a couple minutes left in the game, delivered an advanced strategy, and pulled Darcy P. to get an extra attacker on the ice.

The Bantams always respond well to Coaches Bell and Peeling, and they began doing what they should have been doing all game and started throwing massive quantities of rubber at the net. Coldwater was clinging on for dear life as some of their more sensitive fans began covering their eyes, not able to take the suspense of what was sure to be an adverse outcome for their team.

Fate was not with the Twisters this evening though as Coldwater got a lucky break and iced the puck into the Grand Valley net to seal their fate with a 3-1 loss. There was no shame in this loss though, as the team got back into the groove after an extended layoff and discovered some focal points for their next practice.

 

Hits:

Jack M. was really on his game and made a series of one-touch passes through the neutral zone to expedite the Bantam’s breakout.

Austin K. and Avery B. played strong games after their dedicated parents raced to parachute them into the game at the last minute from their Pee Wee game in Wasaga Beach. Determined players and determined parents – kudos to Austin and Avery!

Yaseem H. has really come a long way over the course of the season, and his speed was driving Coldwater crazy as he shot like a cannon from blueline to blueline. He will surely be a force to be reckoned with as he continues to evolve and gets more consistent delivering his powerful shot at the end of a rush.

Cayden C. put his heart into the game in a literal manner as he blocked a cannonading shot with his breastbone, taking one for the team. As Jamie Barber was resuscitating him on the bench, he later commented that he hadn’t seen a selfless play like that in many moons.

Nicole L. played a robust and determined game and aggressively backchecked in her own end, making a series of outlet passes that sent her team heading in the right direction.

Darcy P. was superlative in net, turning aside 37 shots with 14 coming in the first period. He clearly began frustrating both the Coldwater players and fans, and comments were heard from the Coldwater side that they hadn't experienced goaltending like this, “since 2013 in Creemore.”

Misses:

The Bantam Twisters made the game easier on the Wildcats than it needed to be by getting very few shots on net until the end of the third period.

Coaches Bell and Peeling were repeatedly asking the Bantams to get the puck in deep and make the Wildcats work to get the puck out, but the team did not embrace this concept and continuously attempted to rush the puck in with too many moves. This resulted in turnovers at the blueline and a fast transition by Coldwater back into the Grand Valley end.

The Bantams need to focus on three things to be successful in the high level “A” playoff pool they qualified for:

  1. Get as many low shots to the net as possible, drive hard to pick up rebounds, and create multiple opportunities down low.

  2. Stop trying to rush the puck to the net and get the puck deep to set up future chances rather than going for the immediate highlight reel goal off the rush.

  3. Remember that puck possession and time in the offensive zone are critical, and work to apply pressure to the opposing D, make them work the whole game by keeping the puck deep, applying forechecking pressure, and never giving up easy turnovers and transitions at the blueline – make the opposition have to work for the whole 200’.

Overall, it was an exciting start to the playoffs, and all eyes are on the Bantams as they make their playoff home opener against the formidable Elmvale Coyotes at 4:00 PM today.

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