Bantams Continue Torrid Winning Streak Doubling Up on Elmvale!, News, Bantam, 2018-2019 (Grand Valley Minor Hockey)

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Bantams Continue Torrid Winning Streak Doubling Up on Elmvale!
Submitted By Hudson Cassidy on Friday, February 22, 2019
Coaches Darryl Bell and Jamie Peeling have got their Bantams playing their best hockey of the season – and at exactly the right time! The Bantams completed their sweep of Elmvale 1 & 2 and looked utterly dominant in the process.  There is no question, the other team’s scouts will have ominous news after witnessing these routs.

The coaches have conducted exhaustive analysis over the course of the year and with Coach Peeling’s natural aptitude for strategy and Coach Bell’s analytical expertise they have refined the game down to five key teaching points and have worked extensively with the team to ensure diligent execution.

1.    Put Rubber on Net – The Bantams are very fortunate to have some thunderous clap bombs and lethal wrist shots on the team, and it is only logical to take advantage of this strength and terrorize opposing tenders and take advantage of the rebounds that occur from 90+ mph shots.

2.    Keep it Deep – The Bantams are tenacious forecheckers and ensuring the puck is kept deep in the other team’s zone ensures the opposition works for every millimetre of ice and incidental turnovers provide an additional source of offence.

3.    Avoid neutral zone and offensive zone turnovers – It is critical that the Bantams be a tough team to play against, and one of the best ways to ensure this is by not giving opposing teams freebies in the form of turnovers. Especially zone entry turnovers that can lead to odd-man rushes going the wrong way. Rather than relying on one-man shows, they are now making smart high percentage passes through the neutral zone and, if no lane is open, they are dumping, chasing, and retrieving the puck.

4.    Give Darcy P. a fighting chance – Darcy P. is a world-class goaltender and will make the first save on the vast majority of shots, and so it is imperative the Bantams respect this and take the second and third shots away by clearing the front of the net in a legal manner.

5.    Keep shifts short and feet moving – Even with flawless execution the puck will still occasionally end up in the Bantam’s end, and the best way to deal with this is the centres provide down low support and the wingers keep their feet moving and aggressively patrol the boards and the points so that, when a clearing chance presents itself, it is not wasted. This comes down to what Coach Bell has stressed all year, keep feet moving and eliminate time and space for the opposition.

The Bantams came out strong on home ice against Elmvale, and Austin K. made Elmvale pay early with a high-skill goal scored from doorstep while draped with two large defenders. It was imminent this would happen because the Bantams kept the puck buried deep in Elmvale’s zone for almost the entire first 7 minutes and this was the natural evolution of such aggressive, and yet disciplined play.

Cameron L. then wound-up the speed as he streaked out from behind his net and laser beamed an on-tape pass from the hash marks to Carter B. who was soaring in full-flight across the red line. Carter fought off the check of a monstrous d-man and cut to the net with the speed, skill, and bravado of Connor McDavid and the brute force of Alex Ovechkin. When the time was right, he unleashed, perhaps, the hardest wrist shot of the year that soared like a heat seeking missile through the upper extremities of the goaltender on the blocker side.

As the puck came back to centre ice the referee’s whistle could barely be heard above the deafening roar of the Grand Valley crowd and some people later said they saw daylight between the roof and the walls as Carter raised his hands in celebration to salute his adoring followers standing in ovation.

To their credit, Elmvale returned to centre ice to take the face off and put up a valiant effort at turning the tide of the game, but Grand Valley’s momentum was too much for them to stop and they returned back to centre ice less than 45 seconds later as Quinn A. put the icing on the cake. Owen T. made one of the niftiest plays seen in eons as he swung the puck inside-out and made a blind-side pass to the hard-charging Quinn who used his reach and thunderous shot to his advantage –  it was simply too much for any team to stop.

The goalie and, it appeared, the entire Elmvale bench were so rattled after this display of raw power that they immediately pulled their goalie and inserted a backup goalie in an attempt to change the pace of the game.  They needed to take the emphasis off their lack of any solution to deal with the onslaught of white and green jerseys they had been facing for the previous 25 minutes.

Thankfully, for Elmvale, it was nearly time for the second intermission, and as the Zamboni came on the ice Coach Bell knew that he had to preach to the team the importance of controlling their sticks, emotions, and to watch out for needless penalties. It was clear the only thing Elmvale could do in the third was throw caution to the wind and hit back with everything they had.

As the third period began, Coach Bell’s advice proved prophetic as Cayden C. was sent to the sin bin for a soft tripping call and Elmvale had a window opened to get back into the game. The Bantams were up to the task though, and Ian “Big Hoss” J., Jack M., and Nicole L. played the penalty kill to a tee.

The Bantams had a momentary loss of focus early in the third as Elmvale scored a weak five-hole goal and tried to get some momentum going in their direction. However, Coaches Bell and Peeling were prepared for all events and quickly dispatched some of their high energy players (Yaseen H., Cole B., and Avry B.) to quickly make some big plays and ensure the goal didn’t result in any sustained psychological pattern shifts.

Grand Valley quickly got back on track, and Darcy’s solid play in net helped stabilize things as the game began to wind down. The last five minutes saw some exciting end-to-end action, but it all came to an abrupt halt as Carter collected his second goal and third point of the night sinking an empty net goal to seal the deal.

The Grand Valley Bantams once again proved why they are one of the hottest tickets in town and let’s hope they can keep their streak going tonight in Honeywood. It won’t be an easy game, but the Bantams have proven they are more than up to the task and all spectators are encouraged to make the trip to Honeywood to cheer on their favourite Bantam team.

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