Laura Breadner

By Laura Breadner

The Tim Hortons Novice Rep Pelham Panthers took to the ice in a weekend tournament in Ayton. The Panthers began their journey with a battle against the host team, West Grey Warriors. Pelham came on strong out of the gates, with Captain Luke Breadner scoring their first goal 15 seconds into the game with a beautiful set up from Braeden Miltenburg. West Grey battled back and opened their scoring late in the period, with Pelham quick to answer with another goal from Breadner to end the period up 2-1. The second period saw many strong defensive plays from Miltenburg and Gage Philbrick, managing to keep the Warriors offense out of the Panthers zone until late in the period when West Grey tied it up. The Warriors were quick to move ahead with a goal early in the third, which would prove to be their last. Panthers offense went into high gear with Cassidy Blanchard carrying the puck up the ice, making the pass of the tournament to Brandon Bernardi, who netted a goal to tie it up. Goaltender Ryan Leduc’s tenacity between the pipes gave the Panthers the confidence to battle on. Hard work in the Panthers end led to Christian Doherty chipping the puck off the boards to Breadner who got the go ahead goal. West Grey made a last ditch effort by pulling their goalie, but that just allowed Breadner to get his fourth of the game in the empty Warrior goal and securing the Panthers first win.

The Panthers next game saw them face off against the Lucan Irish. The game opened with the Irish putting strong pressure on the Panthers. Strong defensive plays from Aaron Lee and Marshall Frederick kept the Lucan offense at bay. Justin Narvaez opened the Panthers scoring, with a second Pelham goal coming just seconds later from Luke Breadner off a beautiful pass from Maxx Veld. Breadner notched another to put Pelham up by 3. Lucan answered with their first goal of the game but were no match for the Panthers offense who delivered two more in the first from Veld and Breadner respectively. In the second, Breadner and Narvaez each notched another but Pelham poured it on with a gritty effort from Austin Wilson to score his first of the game. Pelham sniped another due to Merek Triano’s hard nosed play along the boards, feeding Frederick with a pass that he was able to finish from the point. The third period saw Lucan score their last goal and Pelham’s Ian McQueen finishing out the scoring with 18 seconds left in the game. Pelham earns their second win with a final of 10-2.

Panthers finish up the preliminaries as the top seed with a plus 10 rating, guaranteeing them a spot in the finals. The Panthers came into the championship game against the Creemore Hawks fighting for a win. Aggressive and confident playing from Brody Miltenburg and Caleb Walton helped Pelham to kill off back to back penalties in the first. The Panthers effectively moved the puck out of their own end with a pass from Walton to Doherty to spring Breadner on a break to open the scoring with a goal in the top corner. Creemore replied back to tie the game early in the second. Panthers netminder Leduc continued to battle with several effective poke checks to stave off the Creemore attack. Pelham out chanced and out shot the Hawks but were outmatched by their goaltender who was ultimately awarded player of the game. Narvaez took home player of the game for the Panthers. Pelham ended up proudly taking home the silver prize due to a combined team effort. The Panthers celebrated their second place victory in style on the Niagara Ice Dogs bus on the way home.

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