The Mamaroneck Youth Hockey Association Peewee Tigers won the Peewee Majors A division of the Silver Stick Northeast Regional Qualifier Tournament on Sunday, qualifying to compete against teams from around the U.S. and Canada in the International Silver Stick Tournament in Port Huron, Michigan in late January.
MYHA teams have won numerous local tournaments and league and state championships in the last 17 years, but this is the first time an MYHA team has won a regional qualifier to compete at a national or international level.
The Peewee Tigers, aged 11-12, won all six of their games at the three-day tournament held near Philadelphia, including three elimination games on Sunday, bringing them to a 9-0 record to start their season.
They did not trail in any game in the tournament until the finals, when they went down a goal early in the first period and only tied it up late in the second. They then scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third and hung on for a 2-1 win to capture the championship of their 14-team division.
In a sign of the offensive and defensive depth of the 16-player team, many of the Tigers’ forwards had one or more games in which they contributed multiple goals and assists, and three of the Tigers’ first nine games have been shutouts including two at the tournament.
“I am very proud of how well all of the kids played. We have only been practicing for three weeks and had played only three games going into the tournament, so it was really impressive to see how quickly the kids came together as a team,” said Tigers head coach Brian Payne.
Added MYHA President Mike Loga, “This is a testament to how MYHA is helping to develop our local youth hockey players at all levels in our organization. I am incredibly proud of these kids, who serve as a great example of the high quality and dedication of all our players.”
The final game ended at 5 p.m. Sunday with an explosion of sticks, gloves and helmets, as the young Tigers celebrated their triumph. They then assembled for an on-ice ceremony and were awarded well-deserved medals and a team banner signifying accomplishment. In late January, they will take a break from their regular season and try to duplicate their feat while representing the Northeast region at the international tournament in Michigan.
— Story and photograph submitted by Steve Lehman