MIDDLETON - A goal 1ith 1:38 left in the first overtime period gave the Tantramar Titans a 3-2 win over the Avon View Avalanche and the championship title in girls high school hockey tournament play Sunday evening in Middleton.
The shot caught goalie Jenna Morley out of the crease and her defenders scrambling to clear the puck in a short-handed situation – but to no avail.
Morley, and Titans’ goalie Kimberly Cadman were stellar in nets in the nail-biter, back-and-forth game that saw the Titans get on the board first with a marker in the second frame, the Avalanche evening it out by the end of the period, and each team scoring once in the third to set the stage for the overtime.
The game showcased the strengths and determination of both squads. Strong offense with good passing, stickhandling, and speed were mostly thwarted by stubborn defense that made it anybody’s game and a true crowd-pleaser.
The Middleton Regional High School Monarchs Invitational tournament attracted eight teams from Nova Scotia and the Titans from Sackville, NB – with 18 games spread over three days.
“It was a fantastic weekend of hockey,” said Monarchs’ manager Tammy Belanger who organized the annual tournament. “It’s an amazing way to kick off the girls’ season with fast and exciting two-way hockey.”
She said it was awesome to have the stands full to encourage and cheer on the young athletes.
“There was excitement and anticipation in the air especially when our young home town team took to the ice,” Belanger said. “The girls certainly did not disappoint. They lost their first game to rivals West Kings, but beat Hants East and tied Horton -- and went on to win against Yarmouth.”
Belanger said that for the most part it was a very competitive, nail-biting kind of tournament with some very close games with great plays and high intensity.
The Middleton girls tied three ways for a spot into the playoff, but came up short by one point.
“Out of nine teams they finished in fifth spot,” Belanger said. “Not bad for a team with only six senior players and the rest being juniors. Very proud of their never-quit, positive attitude and effort put forth.”
Avon View made it to the final with a win over Parkview while Tantramar defeated West Kings to advance. That put West Kings and Parkview in the contest for third place before the championship game. West Kings edged Parkview for the bronze.
The Avalanche won their first three contests handily, defeating Tantramar 5-0 in their opener and Barrington 7-0 in their second game. In their third game the Avalanche trounced Hants East 8-1 in the 9 a.m. match on Sunday.
The Titans lost 0-5 to Avon View in their first outing, but were 7-0 over Hants East in their second game, and downed Parkview 3-0 in their third contest.
Belanger said that as the season opens this week, fans should expect more exciting games to be played with close scores.
“Good, mostly clean hockey with the focus being on the game rather than the opposing players,” she said in describing what she expects of the league this year. “The girls were so appreciative of the fans who came out to support all nine teams that attended this past weekend. These young athletes appreciate all the support that they have received.”
The Valley High School Girls Hockey League season starts Nov. 10 with Bridgetown at West Kings at 6 p.m. at Credit Union Centre in Kingston, and Avon View at Horton at 8:15 p.m. at Glooscap District Arena.
Middleton and Bridgetown clash in the Monarchs’ home opener on Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. in Middleton.