Shoot-out sen­sa­tion at Bay Arena

Rovers win Tri-Com atom divi­sion I ti­tle in dra­matic fash­ion

The Compass - - ORTHTE - BY TERRY ROBERTS

The Bay Arena Rovers con­cluded an amaz­ing sea­son in the Tri-Com Mi­nor Hockey League March 17 by de­feat­ing the Con­cep­tion Bay Re­gional Rene­gades 3-2 to win the divi­sion I atom cham­pi­onship. It took a pro­tracted and thrilling shoot-out to de­cide a win­ner.

The ex­cite­ment and drama that un­folded Thurs­day night en­sured the roughly 600 peo­ple who watched the game — one of the largest crowds this sea­son — were not dis­ap­pointed.

“ This is what they’ve done all year. They’re a prod­uct of ded­i­ca­tion and hard work,” Rovers’ head coach Bo Bennett said fol­low­ing a spir­ited cel­e­bra­tion on the ice in which the team ac­cepted their gold medals and cham­pi­onship tro­phy.

Af­ter go­ing un­de­feated against the Rene­gades in league play this sea­son, the Rovers came into the best-ofthree cham­pi­onship se­ries as favourites. But the plucky team from Kel­li­grews made the Rovers work hard for ev­ery inch of ice, mak­ing for a highly en­ter­tain­ing and im­pres­sive dis­play of hockey as the nine-and 10-year-olds bat­tled for league supremacy.

Sto­ry­book end­ing

Af­ter split­ting Games 1 and 2, the stage was set Thurs­day night for a win­ner-take-all af­fair.

The game had it all: ter­rific goal­tend­ing at both ends, strong de­fen­sive play, late-game hero­ics and a sto­ry­book end­ing as the only fe­male in the game, Shai­lynn Snow of Clarke’s Beach, pot­ted the win­ning goal in the eighth round of the shoot-out to se­cure the Rovers’ vic­tory.

“I picked the bot­tom hand cor­ner and put it in,” an exuberant Snow said af­ter­wards, de­scrib­ing the goal and the team’s cham­pi­onship as her sport­ing high­light.

It capped an im­pres­sive few weeks for Snow, who re­cently be­came the first fe­male to re­ceive a three-star award in the Tri-Com League, based largely on her twogoal per­for­mance against Mount Pearl in the semi-fi­nal. Snow is a smooth, ex­plo­sive skater who makes her home in front of the op­pos­ing team’s net, col­lect­ing re­bounds and redi­rect­ing pucks.

Rovers’ keeper Ri­ley Pet­ten was also stel­lar in his team’s gold-medal run, and was likely the dif­fer­ence in the game as he made sev­eral key stops dur­ing reg­u­la­tion and in the shoot-out. Pet­ten also re­ceived a three-star award from the league.

“ That young goal­tender gives us an op­por­tu­nity to win games ev­ery night,” said Bennett.

It was ar­guably the most sig­nif­i­cant cham­pi­onship for the Bay Arena Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion in quite some time, since the Tri-Com League is com­prised of the best young mi­nor hockey play­ers from the St. John’s metropoli­tan area.

The Bay Roberts-based as­so­ci­a­tion cap­tured a Tri­Com mid­get ti­tle sev­eral years ago, but many of the elite mid­get-age play­ers com­pete in the pro­vin­cial AAA mid­get hockey league.

Bennett de­scribed the atom divi­sion as “un­be­liev­ably com­pet­i­tive.”

Rene­gades strike first

The Rene­gades si­lenced the home crowd when Devin Foote opened the scor­ing with less than four min­utes to play in the open­ing stanza, slid­ing a low shot be­neath a sprawl­ing Ri­ley Pet­ten.

Kyle Pet­ten evened the score at the 4:17 mark of the sec­ond, with Matthew Akerman draw­ing an as­sist on the play.

Rovers’ cap­tain and lead­ing scorer Zach­ery Bennett sent the crowd into a frenzy with four min­utes left in the game when he fin­ished an im­pres­sive rush by bury­ing the puck into the top cor­ner, over the blocker of the Rene­gades’ keeper.

It ap­peared the tally would hold up as the win­ner as time ticked away, but with only 50 sec­onds left on the clock, Nathan Lake found the back of the net to knot the game at two goals apiece.

That set the stage for a shoot-out, and Snow’s hero­ics in the eighth round.

The Rovers had lit­tle chance to rest, how­ever. The team was sched­uled to host an atom A in­vi­ta­tional tour­na­ment at the Bay Arena over the week­end.

Rovers’ as­sis­tant coach Scott Mercer rubs his eyes as he watches the shoot-out.

The look on Matthew Akerman’s face said it all. Akerman and his Bay Arena Rovers team­mates cap­tured the Tri-Com Mi­nor Hockey League’s divi­sion I atom cham­pi­onship March 17 with a shoot-out win over the CBR Rene­gades in the third and de­cid­ing game of the fi­nal se­ries. Shown here with Akerman are Shai­lynn Snow (left) and Ma­son Oates.

Mem­bers of the Bay Arena Rovers atom A team cel­e­brate their cham­pi­onship win in the Tri-Com Mi­nor Hockey League fol­low­ing a dra­matic shoot-out win over the CBR Rene­gades of Kel­li­grews on March 17.

Rovers’ keeper Ri­ley Pet­ten comes up big on one of the shots he faced dur­ing Thurs­day night’s shoot-out be­tween his team and the vis­it­ing CBR Rene­gades.

Shai­lynn Snow proved to be the hero af­ter scor­ing on this shoot-out at­tempt against the CBR Rene­gades.

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