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They doubled in Vegas.

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The Sherwood Park Kings Athletic Club U-18 AA Oilers hockey team managed to repeat the feat in the recent Silver Stick Invitational Hockey Tournament in Las Vegas, winning gold at the tournament, just like their predecessors. did so the last time the event was held in 2019 when the team was called the Oilers Midget AA under head coach Randy Rosen.

A brand new boys’ team was tasked with defending the title and becoming Team Canada as the only Great White North team to compete in the Vegas showdown.

Sherwood Park Oilers U-18 AA on a hike outside of Vegas Photo provided
Sherwood Park Oilers U-18 AA on a hike outside of Vegas Photo provided

After school closings and all the various pandemic issues over the past couple of years, it was only a great pleasure to be able to make the trip in the first place, regardless of the end result.

“It was a real privilege to be able to do something like that,” said Oilers head coach Greg Norum. “We were really looking forward to going down and defending the title. Parents voted. There were obviously concerns about travel and COVID, but we boiled over for the first few days until we could get tested there. We limited the activities, but once we got our tests we were a lot more confident. “

The Silver Stick tournament had five different divisions, with the Oilers in an eight-team squad at the U-18 level.

As all other entries came from the American communities, the Oilers were able to consider themselves Team Canada for the event.

“I actually think we were the only Canadian team in any of the five levels this year,” said Norum. “It was fun to represent the Canadian flag. It was a big part of it for us.

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They made the country proud.

The Oilers started the tournament with a 3-2 victory over the Sun Valley Suns and were in another close affair in their second game, beating the Alaska Valley Thunder 1-0.

They had a much easier time in a 10-1 win over the Alaska Oilers-Ellingworth to close the round robin before securing a 5-2 victory over the Ogden junior Mustangs in the semifinals.

“We had a few adjustments to make at the start as they have different rules there,” noted Norum. “They don’t have an offside delay and you don’t have the right to block the puck on a penalty kill. Among other rules, it took us a while to adjust. In no case did we go through the tournament. We scored a late goal to win our first game and the second was also very close. “

Sherwood’s team faced the Alaska Valley Thunder again in the gold medal game and came away with a 3-0 shutout.

“It was a close game until the end,” said the Oilers coach. “We only got 2-0 halfway through the third and added a goal into the empty net.

“The boys were thrilled when the final whistle sounded. We had a group of boys who hadn’t won a tournament in their hockey career. They’re a little older now, so they had a purpose. We wanted to go out there and represent ourselves well and play hard and try to bring the banner back, defend the title. When we did this you could see some relief in the group. The games were close and filled with pressure. These were short games, they only played 15 minute periods, so the pressure is really on to get an early one and keep the puck on the opposite side. The ice was also slow, not the greatest, without flooding. Our goalie, Matthew Pieschke, was really good for us in the tournament.

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The Oilers are also doing well at home, currently posting an 11-4-2 record.

“The guys have settled in really well lately and it feels like we’ve gone a bit beyond our pace here,” said Norum. “It’s an exceptional group. They really took control of the tournament. It’s a great group of kids.

Following their victory at the Vegas Silver Stick tournament, the Oilers have received invitations to play in two more tournaments next month – the Canadian Finals tournament and the US Finals tournament.

On the gold medal team in Vegas were Owen Carter, Taryn Hutchings, Reid Schechtel, Brayden Westerlund, Carter Gudmundson, Matthew Linford, Grayden Krislock, Ty Shade, Matthew Pieschke, Hadeon Boyechko, Blake Davis, Levi Wolney, Jackson MacIntosh , Ty Nykyforuk, Keanan Pearman, Ashton St Jean, Drew Cook and Noah Freerksen.

Blake Harrison and Colin Doherty are also on the Oilers, but unable to make the trip to Vegas.

sjones@postmedia.com

twitter.com/Realshanejones

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