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The Investors Group Spartans travelled south during the Christmas holidays to participate in the annual Victoria Peewee Christmas Classic Hockey Tournament.
Arriving early Thursday afternoon, they played their first game against Saanich. While showing a little rust from a 10-day lay-off, the Spartans managed to come away with a 3-2 victory, in part largely to a strong team defensive effort, solid goaltending by Isaac L’Arrivee and timely goals by Griffin Jamieson, Jake Skidnuk and Kyle Sheehan.
After an hour break, the boys found themselves back on the ice to face Victoria. Again strong team defence and solid goaltending kept Victoria in check and led to an offensive outburst for the Spartans. Jamieson led the way with three goals, Skidnuk and Nick Corrreia each chipped in two goals, while Liam Court and Andrew Burgess added one each.
On Friday, the Spartans found themselves locked in tight defensive battle against another Saanich team. L’Arivee was especially sharp in goal, making save after save, and the defensive pairings of Owen Watt and Payton Silvester, as well as William Derksen and Andrew Burgess kept Victoria from having too many second chance opportunities.
After nearly two scoreless periods, it was with one minute left in the second that the Spartan offense finally put a goal past a strong Saanich goaltender. Jamieson scored the first goal of the game, after this Correia took over with his strong drives to the net which led to the natural hat trick. John Burgess scored a late goal to make the final 5-0 for the Spartans.
After going 3-0 in the opening round, the Spartans faced the Nanaimo Ice Hawks who also finished unbeaten in the opening round. The game turned out to be a classic, as action was end to end.
Cole Phillips, Dale Curror and Dylan Munger had strong offensive games getting in front of the Nanaimo goalie for a number of chances that they just missed converting. Hard work and keeping their legs moving, the Spartans were eventually able to draw some penalties against the Nanaimo team which may have been the difference. Late in the second period, Burgess scored on an end-to-end rush making it 1-0 for the Spartans.
Early in the third on another power play, Sheehan went top shelf for a 2-0 Spartan lead. With the fast pace of play, a 2-0 lead was not safe and both teams had additional scoring chances throughout the game. Eventually Nanaimo narrowed the lead to 2-1 with a late third period goal, and despite a furious comeback attempt during which Nanaimo pulled their goalie, the Spartans withstood the attack and held on for the 2-1 victory to take the gold.
– Investors Group Spartans