Brandon Schwandt’s

Jr. Griffins win international hockey title

February 4, 2010 // 0 Comments

Three Rockford boys help team to win by DAVID BRAYTON The 51st annual International Silver Stick Tournament in Sarnia, Ontario, ended recently with a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory for the Grand Rapids Junior Griffins over the Valley East Rebels, the number-one-ranked team in Ontario Atom AA Hockey. The Junior Griffins, made up of 10- and 11-year-olds throughout the greater Grand Rapids area, began this journey by winning the Midland Regional Silver Stick Tournament on December 20. That victory earned them an invitation to compete in the International Silver Stick Final, where 16 teams from throughout North America compete for the title. In the preliminary round, the Junior Griffins defeated the Nashville Junior Predators and Dallas Penguins, losing one game to the Mississauga North Stars. Their record and goal differential had them seeded third where the top four teams advanced to the semifinals. Once again they were matched up against Mississauga, but this time the results were different. Will Kortz of Grand Rapids opened up the scoring for the Junior Griffins in the first period with a beautiful wrap-around goal. Shortly thereafter, Mississauga tied the game. The score was 1-1 until midway through the third period when the Junior Griffins’ Adam Brayton of Rockford drove home a rebound to make it 2-1. Brad Baysore of Grand Rapids continued the scoring for the Junior Griffins by rifling home a shot from the left face-off circle, making it a 3-1 game. Reed Lebster of Cascade finished it off, scoring with one second left in the game to lift the Junior Griffins to a 4-1 victory that put them into the championship game. The finals matched the Junior Griffins up against the two-time defending champion Valley East Rebels from Northern Ontario. Just 16 seconds in, the Rebels scored and the mood throughout the arena was that the Rebels were on their way to another title. Three minutes later, the Rebels made it 2-0 and things were looking bleak for the Junior Griffins. That changed late in the first period when Lebster fired home a shot from just over the blue line for the Junior Griffins’ first goal. In the second period, Kortz maneuvered around two Valley East defenders and buried a shot over the goalie’s glove to tie the […]