ETOBICOKE—The Wiky Reds Hockey Club from Wiikwemkoong travelled to Toronto over the weekend to compete in the Toronto Airport Getaway tournament, an event provided by Canlan Classic Tournaments (www.ccthockey.com).
Their first game was against the Fry Bread Warriors which, ironically, is a First Nations hockey club from Toronto comprised of players that are Band members of Wiikwemkoong. Though the legs were a bit heavy from not having stepped on the ice for a few months, and having a slow start, the Reds managed to pull off the win by a score of 10-6. A few Reds players had multiple points, including veteran Darrell Assiniwe; seasoned players Jesse Peltier and Thomas Assiniwe; and rookies Anthony Manitowabi and Brandon Corbiere.
Game two was against a team called Mean Machine. Knowing that Mean Machine won their first game 8-2, the Reds knew they were going to be tested in this game. Although the Reds managed to control the game for most of the 1st and 2nd period, the Mean Machine goalie was unbeatable. The few chances they did have, they capitalized, and took a 4-0 lead over the Reds. Late in the 2nd period, a tick-tack-toe play by Nathan Roy, Justin Sweeney and Mark Peltier finishing, gave the Reds their first goal and a glimmer of hope. In the 3rd period, the Reds continued to control the game, even scoring two goals to bring the game to within one, 4-3. Mean Machine managed to score another to take a 5-3 lead. In the final minute, the Reds pulled their goalie, Cody Wassengeso, for the 6th attacker. The tactic would not work as Mean Machine scored on the empty net. Final score, a 6-3 loss for the Reds.
The Fry Bread Warriors managed to steal a win over Mean Machine, 6-5, giving both teams a 2 win – 1 loss record. With the Reds sitting at 1 win and 1 loss, game three became a must-win situation. A tie or a loss would send the Reds home with a disappointing weekend. Their game was against the Ice Angels from Vaughan. Even with the urgency of a do-or-die situation, the Reds came out flat in the first period, finding themselves down 3-0. Cody Wassengeso would not let another goal after this, holding down the fort to give the men in front of him a chance to come back. Midway through the 2nd period, a routine breakout play from the Reds zone saw Justin Sweeney receive a pass while flying down the left side of the ice. Showing his speed, he managed to blow past the Ice Angels defenders, beat the goalie on the short side to give the Reds their first goal of the game. Late in the 2nd period, the Reds made it 3-2, down one goal heading into the 3rd. With seven minutes to play in the 3rd, the Ice Angels took two minor penalties, giving the Reds a 5-on-3 power play for 90 seconds. The power play was beautiful with the Reds showing their composure, passing and shooting skills, controlling the Ice Angels in their zone. A few near misses, a couple of posts hit, and several acrobatic saves by the Ice Angels goalie, the Reds had nothing to show for their opportunity, still down 3-2. With the clock winding down, the Reds scored with three minutes left to tie the game 3-3. As the final seconds continued to tick away, it looked like the game was going to end in a tie. A shot on goal on the Ice Angels goalie resulted in a rebound that landed on the stick of Darrell Assiniwe, who made no mistake in tucking it home. 4-3 Reds with 28 seconds left on the clock. The final buzzer blew, creating a three-way tie of 2 wins and 1 loss between the Reds, Fry Bread Warriors, and Mean Machine. With Mean Machine winning one of their games 8-2, they were seeded 1st place with their +/- differential. After calculating the Reds and Fry Bread Warriors statistics, the Reds won the tie breaker for 2nd seeding by one goal. Off to the championship game for a rematch with Mean Machine.
The final was one for the ages. Mean Machine took a 1-0 lead in the 1st. The Reds stormed back with three, including goals by defencemen Bruce Recollet and Jason Peltier, taking a 3-1 lead. In the 2nd period, a Mean Machine player came storming towards the goal, knocking over Reds goalie Cody Wassengeso before putting the puck in the net. The play resulted in defenceman Clifton Wassengeso standing up for his goalie and a tussle behind the net. The intensity between both teams just picked up. The goal was allowed, 3-2. A routine dump and chase play, veteran forward Chuck Peltier took it up a notch, picking up the loose puck in the corner, he flew behind the net, looking like he was going to attempt a wrap around. The Mean Machine goalie was fooled as Chuck Peltier showed his patience and roofed the puck top shelf, 4-2 Reds. Early in the 3rd, the Reds took a 5-2 lead and got comfortable. Too comfortable. Mean Machine, not giving up, stormed back to make it 5-4 with four minutes left on the clock. That is when the cavalry arrived. Attending a lacrosse tournament with his son, Jesse Peltier arrived to the arena late and managed to get on the ice with just over three minutes left in the game. Immediately on his first shift, Jesse Peltier assisted on a goal to give the Reds a 6-4 lead. Then, as Mean Machine was pulling their goalie, Jesse Peltier intercepted a breakout pass at center ice. The Mean Machine goalie saw what happened and desperately skated back towards his net. Looking up and seeing his opportunity, Peltier took a blistering slap shot from the red line and found the twine over a diving goalie. Final score, 7-4 for the Reds.
The Reds returned home as champions, having represented hockey from Wiikwemkoong and Manitoulin Island. Miigwech to all the wives that let their partners travel to Toronto, and miigwech to the fans that came out to watch and cheer on your “Wiky boyz.”