Jr. Comets Mites Shine in Turkey Shootout

Jr. Comets Mites Shine in Turkey Shootout

by Adam Pawlick

Nov 29, 2016

The Utica Jr. Comets Mite team coached by Vincent Nucci and Dan McCraith had a successful weekend as they claimed the Championship in the Valley Youth Hockey Turkey Tournament 2016. The Jr. Comets Red 2 Team played in the Mite B Division and competed against nine other teams. Twelve young hockey players ages 6-8 year-olds make up this championship team that played five games in two days to claim the title of champions.

The tournament began on Saturday November 26th with the Jr. Comets defeating Rome 8-0 with goaltender Xavier Obernesser recording his first shutout of the year. Also on Saturday, the Jr. Comets faced off against Binghamton; beating them by a final score of 3 to 1. On Sunday, the Jr. Comets beat Mid-State by a margin of 8-2 and advanced to the semifinals to face Valley-Dera, where they would win 13-2 and push them into the championship game against Valley-Dunford.

Matthew Mclughlin would open up the scoring for the Jr. Comets in the championship game, giving the Jr. Comets a 1-0 lead. However, the lead didn’t last long as Valley-Dunford scored to tie the game at one. The game didn’t remain tied for long as Drew Witchley responded and gave the Comets the lead once again. Valley-Dunford wouldn’t surrender and tied at two moments later. With 6 minutes left in the game, Bryce “Goose” Lojewski fired a hard wrist shot from the high slot for the eventual game winner. Goaltender Xavier Obernesser played a great game keeping the Valley-Dunford offense out of the net.

“I really feel in all our games that we wore teams down,” said coach Dan McCraith. “All of the mites practice very hard especially during coach Heenan’s power skating. It seemed like our kids were better conditioned for a long weekend of games than our competition.  The kids really came together as a family and were very supportive of each other every shift and every game.” 

The Red 2 team wasn’t the only Jr. Comets team with a great tournament, as the Red 1 team who entered the A Division of the same tournament found themselves playing five games on the weekend. After winning the first four games, the Jr. Comets Red 1 team played a close game with Binghamton but would end up falling just short and finishing the tournament in 2nd place. The loss in the championship game was the Red 1 teams first loss of the season. The Utica Jr. Comets organization would like to congratulate both teams on a successful weekend.

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