It was that time of year again bringing about familiar faces in familiar places. The start to a brand new hockey season; the Toronto Marlboro Friendship Tournament. The parking lot was full of people from all over North America. Some coming from New York, others Chicago, as well as Detroit.
After the Marlboro Minor Peewee team completed two very intense weeks of hockey camp they were anxious to get the season started. The camp provided them with more hockey training and more knowledge than they have had before. It was time to put the training to good use.
Their first game of the tournament was against the Jr. Canadians. It was a very physical and intense game that was exciting from the moment the puck dropped resulting in a 1-1 tie.
Early the following morning the Marlboro's found themselves face to face with Chicago Mission; a very well respected hockey organization. The game started off a little shaky for the Marlboros with a 2-1 lead for Mission. With a great deal of effort and even more heart, the team came back in the third period to tie Chicago 3 all.
Game 3 was equally exciting with opponents called the North Central Predators. Coach Gialedakis spoke to his team and told them to focus on all of the training and knowledge that had brought them this far. Taking his advice and working very hard, the team secured a 3-0 win.
Finally getting their groove back and having two ties under their belt, the Minor Peewee team came out as a force to be reckoned with in their 4th game of the tournament. They played the Timmins North Stars and really brought their game up to a whole new level. Their shots were precise, their speed was off the charts and their motivation to win was at an all-time high. Combining these factors and a lot of heart brought about a 10-1 win and a great feeling of accomplishment.
Game 5 of the tournament was against the Halton Hurricanes. Approximately thirty seconds into the game, it was evident that the Hurricanes game plan was to come out and be physical. This incident set the tone for a style of hockey that the Marlboros were anticipating. Showing an extreme amount of composure and discipline, the Marlboros kept their focus on the "game plan" which was to win the game. Keeping the puck deep in Halton's end, with a strong forechecking presence, the Marlboros were able to control the pace of the game and walk away with a 5-2 win.
The quarter final game against the Mississauga Rebels was an excellent to say the least. Two very strong, well-coached teams met early Sunday morning in the hopes of securing a spot in the semi-finals. The game was tied 2-2 going into the third. On a power play, the Rebels were able to put the biscuit in the basket giving them an edge over the Marlboros. In an attempt to tie the game up, Coach Gialedakis pulled the goalie resulting in an unfortunate open netter ending the game with a 4-2 loss for the Marlboros.
The first tournament for the Minor Peewee team was quite successful. They had their dose of contact, they increased their speed and they worked very well together. The team having had the opportunity to "get their feet wet" would now be better prepared for the battle to come in the 2012/2013 season.