• Junior League Finals Review - THE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT

Junior League Finals Review – THE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT

The jewel in the crown of the EIHA Junior Leagues returned to Ice Sheffield for the second time as the 2016 Junior InterConference Tournament took centre stage.  From the England-Scotland u19 game on the Friday night going to overtime and penalties to the u17 Conference Final on Monday evening, there were 45 matches in just over three days to entertain a large following in the stands.

 Following the normal format the five Conference sides played their round robin games at u11, u13, u15 and u17 before the top two sides contested the Finals on the last afternoon.

Scotland and Northern contested the u11 Final, the Scots having won all four games en route.  A cagey opening period looked like being scoreless until Lucas Dowdle bagged a brace three minutes apart to put North in a strong position.  Scotland had the better of the middle frame, outshooting their opponents 9-4 but neither side found the net.  The final period was more solid defence from North before the seal on the win was Rhys Edwards’ unassisted marker 46 seconds from time.  Final score was North 3 Scotland 0 and the first winners shield of the weekend was headed for Northern England.

 The same two conferences locked horns in the u13 final with a different outcome!  Scotland opened the scoring in tenth minute through Archie Holmes before Jake Grubb doubled the advantage early in period two.  Lee Murison’s goal in the last minute of the second session pretty much confirmed the result.  Gregor Maclean in the net was faultless with 16 saves before Jonathan McBean rounded off the scoring with a powerplay strike just 14 seconds from time.  Scotland the winners by a 4-0 final margin.

 Midlands and Northern played out the most dramatic final in the u15 division.  Ethan Hehir’s opener for North was cancelled out by Ryan Apsley for Midlands and the sides couldn’t be separated for the remainder of regulation or overtime. Nicholas Winters and Harrison Walker were stellar between the pipes and overtime ended still tied at 1-1.  The initial three penalty shots per team also ended level so we headed to sudden death – North scored with theirs while Midlands just went wide on their attempt and the shield was won by Northern Conference.

The last game of the weekend was the u17 title decider between Midlands and South West.  SW opened the scoring in the seventh minute from Harry Gulliver only for Midlands to reply inside 90 seconds through Liam Kirk.  In th second stanza the pattern was repeated – South West edge ahead, Liam Coleman with the marker, only to see Kirk bag his second a couple of minutes later to make it 2-2 at the second interval.

What turned out to be the game winning goal was a sublime piece of skill from, who else, Liam Kirk – stick handling past a couple of defencemen before slotting the puck home for his hat-trick and first lead for the silver & black of Midlands.  A late attempt from SW to fight back with goalie Davies on the bench resulted in an empty net chance for Midlands and Liam Redwood unselfishly passed to Kirk for his fourth and the u17 title winning  Midlands conference.

 After the games the traditional closing ceremony took place with all 450 players and staff on the ice and the all star selections for the tournament.  The selections were as made by conference, England and GB coaches present throughout the weekend.

 

Under 11

NET MINDER

30

SOUTH EAST

LUCA TESSADRI

DEFENCE

12

NORTH

TOMMY SPAGGON

DEFENCE

6

SOUTH WEST

OLIVER KNAGGS

FORWARD

12

SCOTLAND

CONNER McNULTY

FORWARD

7

SOUTH EAST

CHRISTOPHER BECKETT

FORWARD

17

SCOTLAND

JOE LYNCH

MVP

12

NORTH

TOMMY SPAGGON

 

Under 13

NET MINDER

21

MIDLANDS

DANIEL CROWE

DEFENCE

7

MIDLANDS

AREN FRANCIS

DEFENCE

15

SOUTH EAST

LIAM STEELE

FORWARD

5

SCOTLAND

HARVEY TOPEN

FORWARD

12

SCOTLAND

JONATHAN McBEAN

FORWARD

21

SOUTH EAST

JUHA LINDGREN

MVP

12

SCOTLAND

JONATHAN McBEAN

 

Under 15

NET MINDER

32

SOUTH EAST

BRAD WINDEBANK

DEFENCE

3

MIDLANDS

DAN MITCHELL

DEFENCE

6

SCOTLAND

ETHAN REID

FORWARD

25

NORTH

JACOB  LUTWYCHE

FORWARD

21

MIDLANDS

AUSTIN MITCHELL-KING

FORWARD

9

SCOTLAND

LEWIS HOUSTON

MVP

9

SCOTLAND

LEWIS HOUSTON

 

Under 17

NET MINDER

1

SOUTH WEST

LEWIS DAVIES

DEFENCE

14

NORTH

LEWIS BALDWIN

DEFENCE

5

SCOTLAND

MATTHEW AMER

FORWARD

11

SOUTH WEST

HARRY GULLIVER

FORWARD

10

SCOTLAND

CHAD SMITH

FORWARD

14

MIDLANDS

LIAM KIRK

MVP

14

MIDLANDS

LIAM KIRK

 

The All Star netminders and MVP for each age group will receive a stick of their choice courtesy of Puck Stop

 The overall tournament MVP Award, sponsored by Great Britain Supporters Club, went to Liam Kirk.

 Matches from the weekend were filmed and streamed live by 247.tv and these games are still available to watch on demand via the website www.247.tv/live

Photos: MyTeamPhoto.com/Kevin Sloan (KSS Images)

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