On Friday, March 23rd, the Apsley Flames Bantam team checked into the Super 8 Hotel in Barrie to compete in the Bradford Blue & Gold Tournament, played out of numerous arenas in the Bradford and surrounding areas. The Bantam division consisted of 17 teams from all over Ontario.
In their first game, they took on the London Bandits at the La Brier Family Arena located at St. Andrew's College in Aurora. Jamie Eastman scored the first goal for Apsley late in the first period. The game remained 1-0 until the third period when Luke King made it 2-0, assisted by Owen Perks. Logan Downes sealed Apsley's fate with the helper from Mitch Kirton, late in the third. The final score of the game was 3-0 Apsley with Jake Redmond earning the shutout.
In their second game, they faced the host team, the Bradford Bulldogs at the Centre Ice Sportsplex in Alliston. Bradford scored the first goal of the game and Apsley didn't answer until the start of the second period. Mitch Kirton scored for Apsley, assisted by Todd Redmond. Logan Downes scored Apsley's second goal, assisted by Jamie Eastman, making it 2-1 for the Flames. In the third period, Mitch Kirton scored again, assisted by Will Craftchick. Late in the game, Jamie Eastman added one more, making the final score 4-1 in favor of the Flames.
The Apsley Flames Bantam team played their third and final round robin game on Saturday afternoon at the Bob Fallis Sports Centre in Bradford. The Innisfil Winterhawks scored the first goal of the game and added another soon to follow. Apsley was down 2-0 but Jamie Eastman scored for the Flames, assisted by Will Craftchick before the first period ended. The Flames needed at least a tie against the Innisfil Winterhawks to win their group and advance to the semi-finals. Innisfil needed the win in order to do the same. Near the end of the second period, Owen Perks scored the much needed goal for the Flames, assisted by Will Craftchick. The score, now at 2-2, made for a very intense third period. Defensemen, Eric O'Neill, Tyson Baumhour and Mark Kirton, to name a few, did an amazing job keeping their opponents at bay. The tie would have been good enough for Apsely to move on, but with a minute and a half left in the third, Owen Perks scored his second goal of the game, assisted again by Will Craftchick. With the score now 3-2 for Apsley, Innisfil pulled their goalie and Colson West scored the empty net goal, making the final score 4-2. Apsley won their group and was headed to the semi-finals thanks to a great team effort and goal tending by James Herbert!
Late Sunday morning, the Bantams found their way to the Bradford Leisure Centre, where they met the Walden Buccaneers in the semi-final matchup. Apsley won the game handedly with goals scored by: Jamie Eastman, Colson West (2), Logan Downes, Owen Perks and Will Crafchick. Goals were assited by: Callum Perks, Colson West, Todd Redmond, Denver Davidson, Logan Downes and Owen Perks. The final score was 6-2.
The Bantam Flames travelled back to St. Andrew's College for the final game of the tournament. Jake Redmond started in net for the Flames. About half way through the first period, Logan Downes scored for Apsley, assisted by Todd Redmond. Jamie Eastman scored the second goal of the game, assisted by Callum Perks and Colson West. The third goal was scored by Denver Davidson, giving Apsley a 3-0 lead at the halfway mark. Todd Redmond scored one more for Apsley at the end of the second period, assisted by Callum Perks. The third period began with a 4-0 lead for the Flames. James Herbert went in for Jake Redmond and the final leg of the game was underway. Luke King score early in the third and the final score was 5-1, making the Apsley Flames, the Bradford Blue & Gold Tournament Champions!
It was a great weekend for the team, complete with a pizza dinner on the Saturday night at the hotel accompanied by some in house entertainment. A huge thanks to the coaches, Randy Kirton, Jamie Eastman & Josh Perks. A very special thanks to team manager, Jennifer Hill, for all her hard work and for organizing such a great experience for the Bantam team!