Detroit Little Caesars’ Kienan Draper hugs Dominic James after he scored a goal during a Silver Stick Pee Wee AAA hockey game Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 at Glacier Pointe in Port Huron Township.
Tiernan Shoudy is happy to be playing at home.
The Marysville resident is one of four local players on the top-ranked Little Caesars PeeWee AAA team who are playing for the first time in a Silver Stick tournament on their home ice.
On Friday, Shoudy scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in Little Caesars’ 5-2 win against the Buffalo Jr. Sabres, which pushed the team’s record to 3-0 in pool play of the Port Huron International Silver Stick Tournament.
“I’ve always looked forward to this,” said Shoudy, who is joined by his twin brother Travis, Jacob Truscott of Fort Gratiot and Mark Estapa of St. Clair on the team. “It’s always been in Port Huron, and I’m always asking my dad, ‘When is it our turn to be here.'”
Little Caesars closes pool play at 9 a.m. today against the Lambton Jr. Sting at McMorran Arena. A trip to the quarterfinals is essentially wrapped up, and the team will play at either 3 or 5 p.m. at McMorran.
“Like my other coach said in there, we’ll play when they tell us to play,” Little Caesars coach Kris Draper said. “It’s been a good couple days. They’re 12 years old, so you’ve got to try to control them, get them something good to eat, get some rest and obviously come back tomorrow when we’ve got a big game in the morning, and then we’ll see what happens.
“The team’s playing well. A lot of guys are contributing offensively, our defense is playing very well, and our goaltenders are coming up with some big saves. But it’s a new day tomorrow, we just have to keep it going.”
Truscott, Grant Hindman, Tyl Similanic and Dominic James also scored for Little Caesars, while DJ Dixon and Carter Mazur each had two assists and Owen Michaels had one. Xavier Medina picked up the win in goal.
Matthew Yeager had one goal and one assist for Buffalo, while Austin Robinson had a goal and Declan McDonnell had an assist.
Tiernan Shoudy’s goal came with 21.8 seconds remaining in the second period, making the score 3-1. Caesars had dominated the period, but had nothing to show for it up until that point.
“Any time you can score a goal the last couple minutes of a period, I think you can generate some momentum, and that’s what we were able to do,” Draper said. “It was good, I thought our guys really, really played hard. They competed, and it’s fun to watch when they’re going like that.”
Truscott added an insurance goal midway through the third period, and it proved important, as Robinson brought Buffalo back to within two with 4:05 to play in regulation. James’ goal came in the final minute, putting the game away.
Hindman scored less than 2 minutes into the game, but Buffalo settled down and had a lengthy 5-on-3 late in the period. Caesars killed it off, however, and not long after Similanic put his team up 2-0.
“It was an exciting 5-on-3, too,” Travis Shoudy said, “to actually kill it off really well.”
Buffalo falls to 2-1 in the tournament, and will likely need a win at 9 a.m. today against the York Simcoe Express to advance to the quarterfinals.
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.
GAME OF THE DAY
WHAT: Silver Stick Quarterfinals
WHEN: Today at 3 and 5 p.m. (PeeWee); 7 and 8:45 p.m. (Bantam)
WHERE: McMorran Arena and Pavilion