99ers open with vic­to­ries

Brant­ford host mi­nor midget show­case at Gret­zky cen­tre

The Expositor (Brantford) - - SPORTS - BRIAN SMI­LEY EX­POS­I­TOR STAFF

The Brant­ford 99ers showed Fri­day why they are one of the favourites to win the 20th An­nual Dale Parker Memo­rial Bos­ton Pizza Cup Mi­nor Midget AAA Show­case.

Play­ing in front of their home­town fans at Rink 1 at the Wayne Gret­zky Sports Cen­tre, Brant­ford skated to a 5-1 vic­tory ver­sus the South­ern Tier Ad­mi­rals in the open­ing game of the Brant­ford Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion hosted tour­na­ment.

Brant­ford won its sec­ond game 4-0 ver­sus Al­berta’s Lloy­d­min­ster Ro­han Bob­cats.

In its 20 year his­tory, the event has never had a win­ner from Brant­ford.

With a record of 19-6-4, the 99ers have one of the strong­est mi­nor midget AAA teams in re­cent mem­ory.

“No other Brant­ford team has won it so we’re hop­ing to be the first,” Brant­ford for­ward Mad­dox Cal­lens said af­ter his team’s win.

“Hope­fully, we can get a huge boost off this, boost our con­fi­dence and carry it over.”

The mi­nor midget show­case tour­na­ment fea­tures 11 teams of play­ers with 2003 birth years. The week­end event will in­clude some of the top play­ers el­i­gi­ble for the 2019 On­tario Hockey League draft.

Brant­ford has sev­eral play­ers who could be se­lected by OHL teams in the spring.

Cal­lens said it’s a fun group to be around.

“There’s no ar­gu­ing in the room or any neg­a­tiv­ity,” he said. “It’s great.” Fri­day’s morn­ing game was the fourth time Brant­ford and South­ern Tier have faced one an­other this sea­son. In the three pre­vi­ous games, each team won one game and tied one.

Brant­ford spent lit­tle time in its op­po­nent’s end to open Fri­day’s game, get­ting few shots on South­ern Tier goalie Ben­jamin Bon­is­teel.

Af­ter suc­cess­fully killing off the game’s first penalty, Brant­ford made good on a chance to take the lead.

With two Ad­mi­ral play­ers in the penalty box, Steven LaForme opened the scor­ing at 9:06, tak­ing a per­fectly placed Lan­don McCal­lum cross-ice pass and putting it up high be­hind Bon­is­teel.

Just 38 sec­onds later, with one South­ern Tier player re­main­ing in the penalty box, the home team made it 2-0 when Bren­den An­der­son scored.

Cole Hip­kin and Zachary Betts also got as­sists on those goals.

Al­though there was no scor­ing in the sec­ond pe­riod, it wasn’t for a lack of an at­tack on Brant­ford’s part. Along with a LaForme shot off the post, the 99ers out­shot the Ad­mi­rals 12-3 and were ahead in shots on goal 17-11 when the in­ter­mis­sion be­gan.

With fewer than a dozen shots fired his way, Ben DiGial­lonardo wasn’t too busy in the Brant­ford goal but he made the nec­es­sary saves to keep his team ahead 2-0 go­ing into the third pe­riod.

Less than a minute into the fi­nal pe­riod, the home team’s lead was ex­tended when Cal­lens scored past Bon­is­teel to make it 3-0. As­sists on that goal went to McCal­lum and Hip­kin.

Try­ing to keep his shutout in­tact, DiGial­lonardo made his best save of the game mid­way through the third, stop­ping Grif­fin Vaughn with the pad­dle of his stick on the ice while the 99ers were short­handed.

With less than five min­utes re­main­ing in the game, McCal­lum took a pass from Cal­lens. Af­ter his ini­tial shot went wide of the net, McCal­lum chased down the puck. Throw­ing it on goal from the cor­ner, it some­how found its way into the back of the net.

Owen Rainey also drew an as­sist on that goal.

Fol­low­ing a Cal­lens’ break­away goal, the Ad­mi­rals spoiled DiGial­lonardo’s bid for a shutout by scor­ing with 2:15 left in the game.

Brant­ford’s other pre­lim­i­nary games – all on Rink 1 – are Sat­ur­day at 10 a.m. against North York Rangers and 5:45 p.m. ver­sus Os­hawa Mi­nor Gen­er­als.

The quar­ter-fi­nals, semi­fi­nals and fi­nal will be played on Sun­day at the Gret­zky cen­tre.

Visit https://tinyurl.com/yc­n­puqu9 for more in­for­ma­tion on the tour­na­ment, in­clud­ing sched­ules and re­sults.

BRIAN THOMP­SON/THE EX­POS­I­TOR

Lo­gin Wil­son of the Brant­ford 99ers chases af­ter the puck which de­flected off South­ern Tier Ad­mi­rals goalie Ben­jamin Bon­is­teel dur­ing a game at the Dale Parker Memo­rial Bos­ton Pizza Cup Mi­nor Midget AAA Show­case tour­na­ment on Fri­day at the Wayne Gret­zky Sports Cen­tre.

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