Muskrat Voyageurs place second at International Silver Stick
Whitewater Township’s Novice C Muskrat Voyageurs placed second in their division at the International Silverstick hockey tournament that was held in Pelham, Ontario from Jan. 11 to 15. Pictured here (from left) are trainer Greg Kenny, assistant coach Jeff Vereyken, Colton Vereyken, Callum Kenny, Wyatt Lang, Andrew Enright, Jack Lynch, Jaxson Allmand, Jakob Dumouchel, Seamus Darrah, Lou Danis, Nolan Lang, Cedric Dionne, manager Michelle Allmand and head coach Mark Lang.
WHITEWATER REGION – The Muskrat Voyageurs Novice C earned silver glory at this year’s International Silver Stick tournament in Pelham, Ont.
After winning December’s Pembroke Regional Silver Stick, the Novice C Muskrat Voyageurs travelled to Pelham where they faced off against the top Novice C teams from Canada and the United States from Jan. 11 to 15. After securing a strong record and attaining a place in the championship game, the Voyageurs were ultimately defeated 3-1 by the Belmont Rangers.
The final game saw the Voyageurs once again square off with the Belmont Rangers. The action-packed game saw the Rangers push Muskrat to the limit as shots were fired back and forth. Despite solid goaltending by Voyageurs’s Nolan Lang, the team was unable to overpower their rivals who ultimately defeated them 3-1. The Voyagers’ lone goal was netted by Wyatt Lang.
While the Voyageurs missed out on the golden trophy, the team proudly celebrated the silver victory.
Assistant coach Jeff Vereyken commended the entire team for putting forth immense passion and hard work to defeat several teams and achieve the second place finish at the International Silver Stick tournament.
“We ran out of gas in the end but you can't blame the kids for trying their hardest,” said Vereyken. “Anytime you get to a final in an international Silver Stick is huge coming from the Ottawa Valley, so we’re absolutely thrilled.”
He attributed the team’s success to the excellent team chemistry, its passion for the game and the tremendous support it's received from the community. Vereyken noted the team held a community fundraiser which raised enough to cover the bus and other expenses while on the road
“All of the support we got from local businesses and the entire community was unbelievable and it helped us a lot,” he said. “So the community’s support, the kids’s excellent teamwork and definitely all of the mini sticks that they played in between games at the hotel is what contributed to the win – they played hockey for five days straight pretty much.”
Head coach Mark Lang added that it was an exciting moment for everyone involved with the team and one that the kids are sure to remember for a lifetime.
“We started off with just a bunch of kids that knew how to play hockey but all of a sudden you turn them into a team and the way that they were working together at the tournament was pretty incredible,” said Lang. “These kids are becoming better friends through hockey and at the rink than they would at school – they’re gaining lifelong friendships through this and this tournament is something they’ll always remember.”
In the first round robin game of the tournament, the Voyageurs squared off against the Rangers in an aggressive match that saw the latter power past the Ottawa Valley team with a 5-1 victory. The Rangers led 4-0 by the end of the second period and it wasn’t until 30-seconds in the final period that Muskrat's Cedric Dionne scored his team’s lone, unassisted goal. By the end of the third, the Rangers sunk one final goal seal their 5-1 win.
The Voyaguers then took on the Hagersville Hawks in Game 2. While Muskrat went down 1-0 in the early part of the first period, Andrew Enright tied it before the end of the final period.
In Game 3, the Voyageurs battled the Essa Eagles in a tight match that ended with a 2-1 win for the Muskrat team. While the Eagles were the first on the scoreboard, the Voyageurs swiftly overcame adversaries with solid teamwork as Colton Vereyken tied up the score off an assist from Cedric Dionne followed by the game-winning goal from Wyatt Lang (with assist from Dionne and Vereyken).
Having earned its place in the semifinal, the Voyageurs once again found themselves competing against the Hawks. The tight match saw the Voyageurs outwork the opponents as Colton Vereyken sunk the first goal (assisted by Jaxson Allmand) and Andrew Enright scored two more goals for the team (assisted by Cedric Dionne) to outplay the Hawks 3-2.