St. Thomas teams won both the midget and bantam A and BB divisions,
at their Big Cat Preseason Showcase tournament over the weekend
Monday, September 23, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - It was a solid way to start a hockey season that leads into a new decade.
The St. Thomas Panthers won both the midget and bantam A and BB finals, at their Big Cat Preseason Showcase hockey tournament this weekend.
Over three days, 40 teams from as far away as Ottawa, Barrie, Detroit, Michigan and Syracuse, New York, competed in atom, peewee, bantam and midget divisions, held at the Joe and Memorial arenas.
The host club won a battle of Panther teams, in the bantam A final, 3-1, over Central York. Christine Annett had the game winner and assisted on Madelyn Pinnegar's opening goal. Ella Gilchrist also scored for the home team. Phoenix Richardson replied for Central York.
The St. Thomas Panthers improved on a silver medal won a week earlier in Markham, dropping the final, 2-1, to Stratford.
This weekend, the bantam A Panthers scored 14 goals and only allowed one.
In the bantam BB final, Ramona Reid scored with 1:30 remaining in the third period, as St. Thomas rallied late to edge the Haldimand River Cats, 2-1. Down 1-0, on a goal from Brookelyn Nagel, the Panthers knotted the game at one with five minutes to go, thanks to Delta Collard. The Panthers went 2-1-1 in pool action, only losing to Haldimand, 3-2.
St. Thomas goalie Leah Lowe stopped all rubber shot her way, in a 2-0 shutout of the North Durham Blades, in the midget BB final. Leah May and Jacy Collins, potted goals at the other end. The Panthers went 5-0 for the tournament, scoring 17 goals and allowing just one.
For the midget A showdown, Jamie Giles had the lone goal, while goalie Grace McCallum was spotless, leading the Panthers to a 1-0 win over Farmington Hills Little Caesars, 1-0.
The midget A Panthers only allowed one goal compiling a 5-0 record. That lone goal against came in their opening game, a 2-1 win against Farmington.
"We always had a kind of a rough start to the periods but when we got to our full potential and moved out feet and got open for passes, I thought we were unstoppable," said Giles. "We got a lot of shots on net and we always made sure we had a girl on who ever the puck carrier was. We like to pass so we did our best to spread out. Our goalies were pretty much a wall."
Giles scored on a partial break in the third period.
"It was exhilarating," expressed Giles, on scoring. "When the chance came, I was well, see what happens. It felt so good."
A week earlier Giles and her teammates lost in the quarterfinals at Markham.
"This (Big Cat) was our better tournament definitely. We went hard the whole time," said Giles. "We had practices throughout the week to help us learn more. We learned to make sure we have a man on all. We started making better passes and we talked a lot more."
St. Thomas also had teams in the peewee BB (2-2 record) and atom A (1-3) divisions.
The Stratford Aces won the Atom A crown, dumping the Lakeshore Lightning, 5-1. The Chatham-Kent Crunch blanked the Ayr Rockets, 2-0, in the peewee BB final. Lakeshore edged the Woolwich Wild, 3-2, in the peewee A final and the Mooretown Flags squeezed by Georgina Golden Hawks, 2-1, in the atom BB final.