Midget "AA" Ramblers Struggle With Unity Sunday

FTLComm - Tisdale - Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Tisdale's Bantam teams over the past few years have been among the very best "AA" teams in the province but making that move from Bantam to Midget has continued to be a problem.

Though one might assume that the recruiting of "AAA" players reduces the "AA" midgets most observers do not feel that this is the case.

The lives of a young man change considerably as he goes from fourteen to fifteen and the intensity of a bantam team often does not make the trip over the summer.

This year's midget "AA" Ramblers have some of the best players to come along in years yet this season they have been having a tough time breaking even. On Sunday afternoon they were up against Unity Lasers.

Tisdale has the reputation as a skating team and this year's "AA" midgets certainly handle themselves on the ice with excellent ice coverage and with the individual skills their players possess they are a volatile team. Sunday's game began with Unity taking the puck and keeping it in the Tisdale end of the rink for the first three minutes.

The first time Tisdale got possession they came down the ice and a flip shot over Unity goalie Dallas Sperle set the pace for the first period (right). Unity could keep control of the puck in the Tisdale zone with the Ramblers have a difficult time breaking out. But once over the blue line it was pretty easy sailing.

Unity Lazers have a good defense lead by Trevor Neilson and Tyler Pellerin who play excellent positional hockey but during the start of the first and second periods goalie Sperle was caught on the ice and the puck was landing behind him.

Goal number two for Tisdale was pretty much the same as goal one. A simple rush with the Lazers caught flat footed behind Tisdale speed and a one man dash down into the corner a quick flipper over Sperle and the score was two to nothing.

With less than five minutes into the game the Ramblers were leading by two and had only had possession of the puck twice.

The game was very tame by Midget standards and that is credit to excellent officials. The referee was in position and kept the play moving while the brisk linesmen had everything covered including tense moments after the whistle.

There were few penalties in the game but only three or so did not result in a goal. Why both teams had trouble with penalties was odd but they tended to be disorganised .

This is how Unity's first goal looked. They had a penalty and after scrambling around their own end for a minute they got a man free and as you can see in this picture it is one guy alone with three white sweatered Ramblers as witnesses to the goal.

Gord Mamer, Tisdale's goalie played a good game and at one point near the end of the second period he had faced down twice as many shots as the opposing goalie.

This is goal number three which came in the later part of the first period making the score 3 - 1 as Jared Little slipped a clean shot by Sperle's pads as you can see the puck in the corner of the net.

The second period, at least the first part of it was very much like the first period. Unity maintained good puck control and the Ramblers would get the occasional break away.

The Ramblers have excellent skills and use some fine plays, drop passes, rink wide passes and coordinated neutral zone play but they certainly had trouble working their way out of their own end.
The later part of the second period belonged to Unity and when they went to the dressing room it was a 7 - 6 hockey game and the Unity parents could sense that things were going their way.

Period three was one of those long things that most hockey players consider a nightmare as Unity put the puck in the net on four successive penalties to Tisdale while the Ramblers got a power play goal of their own. But 12 - 7 seems more like basketball than a hockey score.

One remarkable situation occurred with about three minutes left in the game the Rambler coach called a time out. His team were hopeless at that point but after the time out they played inspired hockey for two minutes. Clearly a sign of a first year midget team running on emotion. This year's team has a very sizable contingent of first year players so we can expect things to change as the season wears on, wait until next year.