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Sep 21, 2017 | Lorna Baker | 1323 views
This past weekend over 70 hockey teams from all over the province descended on Essex for the 40th annual Earlybird Tournament. The Atom Minors would begin their tournament Thursday night with a game against local rival Amherstburg.

Essex would open the scoring 4 minutes in on a fine effort by Owen S.  Amherstburg would tie it only to have Essex take the lead again on a goal by Caleb C.  Again Amherstburg would net the equalizer however Essex wouldn’t give up and would slide in the eventual game winner on a goal by Braeden C.  Aiden F would get the win between the pipes in this one with a solid effort.


In game two the Ravens faced off against New Hamburg.  Having never previously faced this team they were a bit of an unknown.  In fact Meredith C was quoted as saying “we don’t know much about them other than we assume they’re better than Old Hamburg.”  Essex would open the scoring late in the first frame on a nice goal by Caleb C.  New Hamburg would even it at 1-1 after the first.  Andrew Baker would score in the second and Braeden C would score in the third, both set up by beauty passes from Cade S.  Final score 3-1 Essex.


The Ravens would have two games on Saturday the first against Dundas from the Federal league.  Sean W would open the scoring in this one on a great solo effort.  Braeden C would follow with a minute left in the first only to have Andrew B score with 35 seconds left in the first.  Essex wouldn’t score in the second but would hold Dundas at bay with strong defensive efforts by Ben F, Cole G, Hudson D, Jesse C, Mason G and Cade S collectively known as “the 6 pack of defense”.  The Ravens would blow this one open in the third with two more for a final score of 5-1.


Later Saturday the team travelled to Harrow to play St. Thomas knowing if they win they were in the finals.  Ethan O scored the first goal before the last note of the national anthem was done echoing off the walls of the arena, 1-0 Ravens 30 seconds in.  Sean W would add another before the first period was done.  The Ravens would add two more in the second frame on goals by Andrew B and Cade S.  Reed V would flash that glove hand and hold the team in the rest of the way, final score 4-1 Essex – off to the finals!


In the finals the Ravens faced off against Riverside.  Being polite hosts the Ravens decided to spot Riverside a 3-0 lead in the first period by playing their worst period of the tournament.  In the second frame this group of kids once again showed their determination to NEVER, EVER GIVE UP and began to mount their comeback.  Strong forechecking by Meredith C, Jaclyn W and Sean W and solid first passes by Noah M would put pressure on the Riverside defense and begin to get the play in their end.  This would eventually be rewarded with a goal by Cole G on a blast from the point.  The comeback had begun. The Ravens would continue pushing in the third with a goal by Braeden C and two by Owen S, the second to take the lead with just under three minutes left in the game.  Riverside would tie the game at 4 moments later on a tremendous solo effort.  Refusing to go down the Ravens would mount one last attack and with 11 seconds left newcomer Andrew B would get the barn rocking with the game winner 5-4!. 


The team would like to thank all their fans for their positive support in this tournament – a great start to the season!! 

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