Kanata Blazers coach Steve Sadaka didn't ask his kids to win one for the Gipper. He didn't wax poetic about how cool it would be to compete at the International Silver Stick championships.
All Sadaka had to do to motivate his major atom AA Blazers at the regional Silver Stick championships in Georgina was to offer to rent a bus if the team could win its way into the international event in January in Sarnia.
That sounded pretty exciting to his young players, who then went out and won five straight games including a 2-0 shutout of host Georgina in the final.
"The biggest thing they are looking forward to is the bus ride," Sadaka said. "That was how we motivated them, that if they won this tournament we'd get a bus for Sarnia ... they were pumped up right from the start."
The Ottawa Sting AA major peewees also won at the tournament, avenging a round-robin loss to the Barrie Colts by beating them 4-1 in the championship game.
The victory for Kanata was its third tournament championship in the four events it's competed at this season. Goaltenders Jacob Blair and Arun Kumar each got three shutouts, but the real story was the team defence. Kanata gave up just 49 shots on goal during the tournament, less than 10 per game on average. It wasn't easy, with a very stiff test in its final round-robin game against a strong Uxbridge squad, winning 3-2.
"I think the big game that we won was against Uxbridge," Sadaka said. "That allowed us to win the division, but it also knocked them out of the tournament. They were easily the best team we played."
The Blazers went into the semi-final and knocked off the North Toronto Wild 4-1. Kumar got the shutout, and Jay Kaminski scored both goals in the championship win over Georgina, netting his second with just 36 seconds to play. Other standouts were the forward line of Brendan Wong, Riley Hennigar and Chris Houle, and defencemen Brandon Cole and Luke Simurda.
The Sting peewees, meanwhile, suffered just one bump on the road to their title. After opening with a 6-3 loss to Barrie, the squad bounced back to earn a spot in the semi-finals with an 11-2 romp over the Aurora Tigers and a 5-1 win over the Ajax Knights. In the semi, Ottawa blanked the Toronto Aeros 3-0. In the final, the teams were deadlocked at 1-1 after two periods, but the Sting broke it open with two goals in the third period.
Kyle Leduc sparked the Sting offence with nine goals and a total of 14 points.
Also making big contributions to the offence were Jeffrey Clarke, Dalen Hedges, Ben Robillard and Paul O'Brien.
While the Blazers head for Sarnia, the Sting peewees will travel to Port Huron, Mich. in January for their international event.