The North Bay & District Under-18 Trappers may have saved their best performance for the final tournament of the year; but sadly due to a unique playoff format, the Trappers failed to make the quarterfinals of a tournament for the first time this year.
The Trappers went 3-0-1 in round robin play in the Steve Richey Memorial Tournament in Peterborough over the weekend. However, the Trappers lone tie was a 2-2 draw with the Waterloo Wolves on Friday. The Wolves went on to win the tournament title over Ajax 4-2.
The Trappers, who had the third best record of the 32 U18 teams, were in the same division as the Wolves and were eliminated from the quarterfinals in a goals for and against tiebreaker.
The Trappers opened the tourney Thursday night with a 4-2 win over the Mississauga Reps. Nate Gravelle led the way with two goals in the win.
Heath Bradley and Anthony Boyes had the others. Mike Purkhart was solid in the opening night win in Norwood.
On Friday morning the Trappers continued their winning ways with a 5-2 win over the Clarington Toros. Caleb Dawson paced the Trappers with a pair of goals with singles going to Anthony Boyes, Gravelle and Cayden Kowal. Purkhart again shut the door between the pipes for his second straight win.
Friday night was a clash between the two unbeaten teams in their division; the Waterloo Wolves and Trappers. The Trappers fought through a penalty filled affair to pull out a 2-2 draw. Ayden Thomason netted the equalizer late on a shot from the blue line that bounced past the Wolves‘ bewildered goalie with the Trappers goalie pulled for the extra attacker. Johnny Couch had the other Trappers tally. Mike McIvor was solid in goal making some key acrobatic stops to keep his team in it.
On Saturday morning, the Trappers really got the offence going as they blanked the Whitby Wildcats 6-0.
Heath Bradley scored twice with singles going to Ethan Boyes, Jacob Payeur, Anthony Boyes and Cayden Kowal. Mike McIvor recorded the shutout to secure the Trappers unbeaten record.
Doug Sanders, Trappers head coach, was disappointed his group missed the playoffs in their final tournament of the season.
“We went 3-0-1 and were eliminated which is frustrating, but we are really pleased to see how well our team competes against teams from all over the province,” said Sanders.
“Players executed plays and systems we have been working on and seeing results, and as a coach, that is what we are most pleased with.”
The U18 Trappers made the quarterfinals in three tournaments; including Kingston, Sudbury, and went all the way to the finals in Vaughan back in early December losing to the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in the final.