Organizers of the annual Pictou County Bantam Memorial Hockey Tournament are feeling uplifted by the way the event unfolded over the weekend.
Both the host Pictou County Bantam AA and Bantam A Crushers reached their respective division finals at the Pictou County Wellness Centre on Sunday, and the Bantam AA Crushers won their championship.
“We’ve had a great weekend,” said Cheryl Nichol, who chaired the host organizing committee. “Everyone got here safely, the hockey has been great and there was a lot of support in terms of volunteers and donations from the community.”
Major awards were presented that included tournament most valuable player and the I.C.E. award presented to Bantam AA and Bantam A players who best exemplify intensity, contribution and effort.
Awards were also presented in each division to the top goalie in memory of Donald Gladwin, the top scorer in memory of John MacDonald and top defenceman in memory of Shawn and Lee Marie McKay.
Nichol said she wanted visitors to appreciate the tournament’s significance going back to the fatal 1984 motor vehicle crash and the event’s dedication to the three hockey players and the mother of one of them who perished in the crash.
“My biggest thing was making people aware of what this tournament is about, because a lot of people don’t know, but I think I reached that goal,” she said.
Seth Gallant scored the only goal and Evan Ramsey got the shutout as the Crushers defeated the Dartmouth Whalers 1-0 in the championships game.
“It’s been 14 years; 2006 was the last time a Pictou County team has won,” Crushers’ head coach Victor Melanson said. “The boys battled. No team in this tournament is an easy team to play. They won the game that mattered.”
Tournament most valuable player Scott Mosher scored two goals as the Bantam AA Crushers advanced to the championship with a 4-1 victory over N.B. East Scorpions. Jake Henderson and Landon Steele, into an empty net, also scored.
The win proved costly after Crushers defenceman Ben Marchand was suspended for a blow to the head infraction with 30 seconds left in the game.
The Crushers posted lopsided victories to open their schedule.
Gallant, Steele and Cameron Munroe each scored twice as the Crushers downed the Sydney Steelers 8-1. Ben Manos and Marchand also scored.
Gallant’s two goals and Kaleb Melanson’s four assists led the Crushers’ offence as they topped the Strait-Richmond Pirates 7-1.
John Kay Martin, Jake Henderson, Brayden MacKinnon, Jax Graham and Mac Wallace notched single goals.
Munroe scored twice as the Crushers remained unbeaten in their three games with a 4-2 victory over Glace Bay. Martin and Mosher also scored.
The TASA Ducks scored in overtime to edge the host Bantam A Crushers 2-1 to win the division honours. Carter Dauphinee scored for the Crushers, who outshot the Ducks 40-20 but were foiled by Tye Bentley, who was named the tournament’s top goaltender.
The Crushers needed Cole Thompson’s overtime goal to edge the Dartmouth Whalers 3-2 in their crossover match on Sunday.
Corbin MacDonnell and Evan Tucker gave the Crushers a 2-0 lead in the first period.
The Crushers won their three preliminary handily, finishing on Saturday with a 5-1 victory over the Clare Ravens.
They opened with two shutout victories, defeating Chebucto 5-0 and Antigonish 11-0.
Carter Dauphinee and Lucus MacDonald each scored twice and Evan Tucker got the other goal against Chebucto.
Harley Clarke scored twice against Antigonish. MacDonald, Tucker, Dauphinee, Gage Connors, Cole Thompson, Carson Moore, Porter McNamara, Wyatt Spence and Levon Walst also scored.
Alex Palmer recorded the shutout.
Dauphinee, Walst, Tucker, MacDonald and Connors scored in the Crushers’ victory over Clare.
From left: alternates Jax Graham and John K. Martin, captain Kaleb Melanson and alternate Scott Mosher stand with the Bantam AA championship banner. (Goodwin photo)