Humphrey Fleet Service Take "Never Give Up" To The Next Level At The Annual Stratford Aces Tournament, News, Humphrey Fleet Service Atom A (Stratford Aces Girls Hockey)

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Humphrey Fleet Service Take "Never Give Up" To The Next Level At The Annual Stratford Aces Tournament
Submitted By Sean Cameron on Wednesday, November 20, 2019
A slow start almost cost the Humphrey Fleet Service Atom A Aces in the final of the Stratford Festival Cup, but the team refused to give up and won 5-4 in a shootout, November 17.

The St. Thomas Panthers pounced on the Aces nine seconds into the final when the Panthers star drove around the defender and fired on net. Malaika Kibedi got most of it but it just squeaked through. Midway through the first, Jayda Houben dished it to Emersyn Miller and she turned and ripped it top corner far side to tie it up. Kibedi was tested frequently in the first and rose to the challenge coming up with several saves. With the Panthers getting pressure down low on the power play, they found a gap in the Aces defence out front and went top shelf to take a 2-1 lead with 1:31 to go in the first.Early in the second, the Panthers went up 3-1 after Kibedi made the first two stops. Two minutes later the puck deflected off a defender's skate and in. After juggling the lines, the Aces started their comeback. Ava Harmer fed Miller and she scored a beauty on a wraparound to cut the deficit to two with 1:28 remaining in the second. It provided a big boost and the Aces started to generate more offense. Two minutes into the third Eden Fraser kept it in at the point, stepped around the defenders and rifled it short side to get the Aces within one. Kibedi came up big as the Panthers tried to regain the momentum. Then the netminder headed to the bench, in favour of Miller as the extra attacker, with less than two minutes remaining and it paid off quickly. The determined pressure of Abby Van Bakel, Houben, and Jayda Dietz was too much for the Panthers and Miller found the loose puck and ripped it short side to tie it up with 1:25 to go. The teams exchanged chances in regulation and then in the five minute overtime, sending the game to a shootout. Miller was the first shooter and went wide right then cut left at the last second around the netminder and ripped it. The Panthers' star was next and she tried a similar last second deke but Kibedi stayed with her and came up with a huge pad and glove save. Then Van Bakel raced in and ripped a shot right side to really put the pressure on the Panthers, who had to score. Then Kibedi came up with another huge stop to seal the 5-4 win.

The Aces opened the tournament with a 2-1 win over the Kitchener Lady Rangers,  November 15. After the Lady Rangers opened the scoring on a two on oh, the teams exchanged chances with both goaltenders coming up with big saves. Midway through the second Kylin Wilson's point shot went to Van Bakel, her shot was stopped but Houben jumped on the rebound to knot it at one. A minute later Jule Cameron found Van Bakel and she banked it off the goalie from below the goal line with 4:30 to go in the second. The teams exchanged chances the rest of the way and the Lady Rangers pulled the goalie but the Aces came away with a 2-1 victory. Maren Marshall and Camryn Medhurst made some huge stops on defense. Kibedi made several great saves for the win.

The Aces faced the St. Thomas Panthers in game two, November 15. Stratford jumped out to the early lead after Medhurst kept it in at the blueline. Dietz' shot was stopped but Van Bakel was there to rip the rebound home. Chloe Rison came up with a huge pad save on a two on one rush minutes later. Early in the second Van Bakel's shot was stopped but Miller was there to backhand it home. Eve Binns did the hard work in the corner and Jule Cameron found Miller on a beautiful tic-tac-toe play for a 3-1 lead. Rison made a huge stop on the first shot but the Panthers banked the rebound in from below the goaline late in the second. The Aces responded immediately. Van Bakel's shot was stopped but Houben banged it home to seal the 4-2 victory. Linley Porter used her speed and tenacity to battle the Panthers. 

The Aces took on the Caledon Coyotes in game three and walked away with a decisive 5-0 win.  Miller led the way with a hat trick, Van Bakel had a goal and an assist, Cameron scored, with assists to Binns, Dietz, and Wilson. Kibedi picked up the shutout. 

In game four, the Aces faced the Burlington Barracudas. They ran into a hot goaltender and Chloe Rison was tested frequently and came up with several outstanding saves to keep it scoreless until Harmer banked it off the goalie from below the goaline with 15 seconds left in the first. Krista McMahon assisted.The Aces turned up the offense in the second but were stymied repeatedly. Maeve Moss thwarted a dangerous rush midway through the frame. They were finally rewarded late in the third when Miller jammed it home on a goal mouth scramble. Binns and Harmer assisted. With just over a minute remaining Burlington pulled the goalie but Dietz fed Emma Van Nes and she drove down the right side and with the defender on her backhanded a shot on net. It hit the post and bounced to Miller who snapped it into the open cage to give the Aces a 3-0 lead. Unfortunately Burlington broke through the stingy defense and ripped it top shelf to end Rison's shutout bid with 37 seconds left.The Aces return to league action November 24 when they host the Woolwich Wild at 11:30 and travel to Kitchener November 26 to face the Lady Rangers. 

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