The 2018 Whitby Silver Stick Tournament has come and gone, and what an electrifying four days of hockey it was.
Following hundreds of games and a number of outrageous outcomes, Detroit Compuware claimed the championship through a hard-fought battle against the Don Mills Flyers. In handing the Flyers their first loss of the season, Compuware proved to the hockey world that the Flyers are human and are capable of being overcome through a poised and concerted team effort.
Although this wildly entertaining game was undoubtedly the highlight of the tournament, a number of other storylines also developed over the weekend in Whitby which are worth discussing in greater detail.
Given the immense amount of success and struggles endured by arguably the 30-best minor midget teams in North America throughout the tournament, here are three specific talking points worth discussing.
1: “The Don Mills Flyers are Human”
Well, it happened.
Despite posting a sparkling perfect record in league and tournament play to begin their 2018-19 campaign, the Don Mills Flyers finally lost a game — and what a game it was. Despite trailing Detroit Compuware late in the final of the Whitby Silver Stick Tournament, the Flyers battled hard to maintain their perfect season — forcing a wildly entertaining overtime period before eventually falling by a score of 5-4.
Now, although Don Mills is no longer perfect, it goes without saying that the Flyers remain as the minor midget team to beat within Ontario this season. Sure, the club has one loss and one tie on their overall record, however, this won’t stop opposing teams from competing at their highest level each and every time a clash with Don Mills surfaces within their schedule.
Related: 2019 OHL Draft Rankings
Yet, with this being said, Compuware’s destruction of the Flyers’ perfect record could wind up fuelling a much stronger level of play on behalf of Don Mills. No longer playing under the pressure of a perfect season, the Flyers’ sudden humanity should allow the team’s roster to relax and play a stress free game — a reality which could lead to greater confidence and creativity within an already devastating roster.
So, although beatable, the Flyers’ first loss of the season could simply spearhead the beginning of another impressive winning streak.
2: “Despite Struggles, York Simcoe Express Are Legitimate”
Following an explosive start to their 2018-19 ETA campaign, the York Simcoe Express have fallen upon tough times.
In their last 10 games played in all competitions prior to the Whitby Silver Stick Tournament, the Express had battled to a 3-5-2 record. Then, come the tournament itself, York Simcoe tussled to an 0-2-2 record — a level of success which saw the Express fall to last place within their somewhat deep pool.
One particular issue which plagued York Simcoe throughout the Whitby Silver Stick Tournament was the team’s inability to receive consistent scoring from throughout their entire lineup. In fact, of the Express’ eight total goals scored, six of which came from just three players while a whopping eight skaters were held off of the scoresheet entirely in their four games played.
Related: 2019 OHL Draft Profiles
Now, this is not to say that York Simcoe is a below average team — rather, that the Express must focus upon putting forth a comprehensive team effort with a greater level of consistency in their games ahead. In fact, the Express boast a number of highly promising young prospects, as the likes of Kaleb Nelson, Ryan Cuter, Jordan Fuller, and Thomas Sirman — amongst others — have continued to prove themselves as elite young players this season.
As York Simcoe resumes its 2018-19 ETA season, expect the team’s struggles during the Whitby Silver Stick Tournament to fuel the club’s second-half dominance. Simply too strong and too skilled to under-perform, the Express will undoubtedly embark upon their second-half with the mind-set of re-establishing their standing as a true contender.
3: “Don’t Count out the Mississauga Rebels”
The Mississauga Rebels have struggled of late within the GTHL — the team posted a dismal 4-6 record in their ten contests immediately preceding the Whitby Silver Stick Tournament.
However, despite competing within a strong tournament group, the Rebels came to Whitby and re-established themselves as a premier team within Ontario. In their four round-robin games, the Rebels cruised to an impressive 3-0-1 record while allowing a mere six goals against. Perhaps the most inspiring victory achieved by the Rebels came in a 3-1 victory over Detroit Little Caesars — a team widely expected to do serious damage throughout the tournament.
Related: 2019 GTHL Prospect Profiles
Although Mississauga’s strong run came to an end in the round-of-16 against the eventual tournament champions in Detroit Compuware, the Rebels’ stellar play should serve as a significant motivator as the team resumes it’s 2018-19 GTHL campaign. Sure, Mississauga sat in sixth-place in the GTHL at the time of the tournament, however, the Rebels’ recent performances should serve as a serious reminder to their opposition that they must not be taken lightly despite enduring bouts of inconsistency.