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Jr. Thrashers claim gold medal at invitational

The Woolwich Thrashers were the junior development division champions at the London Blizzard Sledge Hockey Tournament last weekend.
The Woolwich Thrashers were the junior development division champions at the London Blizzard Sledge Hockey Tournament last weekend. Front: goaltender Daniel Peters. Second row: Dustin Hoag, Nate McCarthy, Jesse Chamberlain, Gideon Chamberlain, Josh Chambers, Hunter Karn, Troy Clemmer, Logan Gillingham, Jeramee Snethlage, Megan O’Brien, Michael Papaioannou, Brandon Lalonde, Lucas Harrison. Back row: pusher John McCarthy, trainer Rob Hoag, manager Harold Chamberlain, assistant coach Mamie Sealey-Baker, head coach Keith Metzger, pusher Drew Bomhof, pusher Melissa Papaioannou. [submitted]
The Woolwich Thrashers were the junior development division champions at the London Blizzard Sledge Hockey Tournament last weekend.
The Woolwich Thrashers were the junior development division champions at the London Blizzard Sledge Hockey Tournament last weekend. Front: goaltender Daniel Peters. Second row: Dustin Hoag, Nate McCarthy, Jesse Chamberlain, Gideon Chamberlain, Josh Chambers, Hunter Karn, Troy Clemmer, Logan Gillingham, Jeramee Snethlage, Megan O’Brien, Michael Papaioannou, Brandon Lalonde, Lucas Harrison. Back row: pusher John McCarthy, trainer Rob Hoag, manager Harold Chamberlain, assistant coach Mamie Sealey-Baker, head coach Keith Metzger, pusher Drew Bomhof, pusher Melissa Papaioannou. [submitted]
The Woolwich Thrashers local sledge hockey team dominated in the 2018 London Blizzard Invitational Sledge Hockey Tournament this past weekend in London, with the junior squad taking home gold in their division.

The internationally renowned tournament attracted clubs from as far away as Edmonton and included the Swedish Paralympic team among the many contenders.

The intermediates tied their first game of the weekend 2-2 in a close back-and-forth match with the Cruisers Silver Streaks from Brampton, with goals coming from Karl and Evan Kraayenbrink.

In their second game, the intermediate Thrashers lost a close game to the Buffalo Sabres, 2-0, and lost their final game of the weekend 1-0 to the eventual Intermediate-C+ Division champions, Kawartha Blazers.

In the junior division, the Thrashers opened their weekend on Friday with a 2-0 victory over the Hamilton Sledgehammers – Gideon Chamberlain and Josh Chambers had the goals, while goaltender Daniel Peters came away with his first shutout of the tournament.

Playing against the Elmvale Cubs Saturday morning, the Thrashers came away with a 6-0 win. Chambers posted a hat trick, Jeramee Snethlage had a pair of breakaway goals, and Chamberlain potted his second of the tournament to round out the game.

The Thrashers put up a 1-0 win against hosts, London Blizzard, Chamberlain scoring the game’s lone goal in the first period, while Peters held out once again to give them a 3-0 round-robin record. From there they were off to the semis.

In Sunday’s semi-final, the Thrashers found themselves up against the Cruisers Juniors from Brampton. Dustin Hoag scored the Thrashers first of the game and was followed by goals from Snethlage, Chambers and Logan Gillingham to bring the score to 4-0.

Next up, they faced off against the Sledgehammers for the gold medal. However, a pair from Chamberlain mirrored Friday nights results and gave the Thrashers their first tournament win.

“It was a pretty solid tournament for us, I’m not going to lie to you,” said head coach Mamie Sealey-Baker. “It went really well; we have seen a big improvement with the team since the start of the year ’til now, which is awesome. They seem to get better with each game, so that was kind of a nice thing to see. We became more of a unit as each game progressed and corrected the things as the tournament went on.”

It was Sealey-Baker’s first tournament coaching the team. She started volunteering with the club after looking for a parasport club in the area to get involved in, contacting organizers about getting involved. From there it has been an amazing and welcoming experience, she said.

Keeper Peters took the show coming away with five straight shutouts during the tournament, tying him with NHL record holder Brian Boucher for most consecutive shutouts by a goalie.

However, coach Sealey-Baker also credits the quality of her impeccable soldiers up front for protecting their end.

“There wasn’t a lot of action in our end a lot of the time, but when there was he was on point, and he made a fantastic glove save – it was literally like a highlight reel, it was beautiful,” she said.

The team returns home for a league game at the Woolwich Memorial Centre Saturday (February 3) against the Hamilton Sledgehammers. The puck drops at 2 p.m.

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