Capture Open C division title at London Blizzard sledge hockey tournament
with a 6-0 record including a 3-1 victory in the final
January 23, 2023
By Rob J. Ross
LONDON, Ont. - The Elgin Imperials are golden
Travis Topping scored 11 goals and goalie John Stevenson posted a .067 goals-against average, as Elgin completed a 6-0 run, to win the Open C division, at the London Blizzard Invitational sledge hockey tournament Sunday at Western Fair Sports Centre.
"We were able to get a few lucky bounces and a goaltender who stood on his head when we needed him," said Shaw. "We knew how to play against four of the teams we played this weekend so that kind of helped."
Topping, Shaw and Ryan Whittle, with the game winner, scored in a 3-1 victory over one of their provincial rivals Woolwich, in the final.
It is the first time the Imperials have won gold at the tournament, improving on a third place result in 2020.
"Practice twice a week I feel helps with team bonding and learning how each of us plays," said Shaw. "Good coaching, great teamwork and being able to modify our play on the fly. Our team communicates well and reads the ice quickly."
Topping, a student at East Elgin secondary school, led the tournament in goals and in points, with 17.
"All of the Elgin team played very good and consistently throughout the whole tournament, so it was definitely the leading factor to the goals," Topping said."Without them I wouldn't of had the chances I had. I have also worked hard and practiced a lot which helped me."
Topping had two goals and an assists, in the Imperials' 5-1 defeat of Buffalo, in the semifinals. Whittle, Brian Lidster, Kaidyn Skillings and Emily Taylor-Bond, also scored.
Whittle finished the tournament with three goals and seven assists. Shaw had five goals andd four assists, Skillings, a goal and seven assists, Lidster, four goals, two assists and Taylor-Bond, three goals, two assists. Nick Heighington and Randy Brown had an assist each.
Tyler Zinn scored his first career goal, in a 6-0 shutout of Sarnia, one of four round robin victories.
"One thing that really stays in my mind, game in and game out is the end result. Win or lose. there are always good things to take out of a game," Topping added.
The Blizzard Invitational attracts over 40 teams from across Ontario and the United States, competing in five division.
Last March, Elgin won the Ontario Sledge Hockey Association Open A title.
Next month, the Imperials will be at the Ontario Parasport Games, February 3-5, in Whitby.
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