Napanee U13 Stars shine at Silver Stick regional qualifier

Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte

History repeated itself for the Napanee Stars Desjardins Insurance U13 BB team on Sunday.

Wes Davey reacts after scoring the overtime goal for the Napanee Stars U13 team. (Photo by Jeff Gard)

Cal Wilson tied the game late in regulation time before teammate Wes Davey scored the game winner early in overtime to give the Stars a 3-2 victory over the Quinte West Golden Hawks in the 13U ‘A’ division championship game at the Northumberland Regional Silver Stick hockey tournament in Cobourg.

“It’s crazy, I still can’t believe it,” Davey said of the OT winner that qualified the Stars for the International Silver Stick Finals in Sarnia next month. “My friends passed it out. Cooper (Seaton) had it in the corner, he went over to William (Babcock), William passed it right to me, I shot and it went in. It was all a team effort.”

Napanee rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the victory that was reminiscent of when this group won the regional Silver Stick in Cobourg as atom players (now U11) in 2019.

“We were in the same spot two years ago in the same tournament,” said Stars coach Dave Kerr. “We were down early and came back, tied it up late and won in OT. You always think that’s hard to do a second time. Some of the kids were pretty down on themselves (Sunday), but we got that first one which got us back into it and once you get that first one it kind of gets you going again.”

After scoring the tying goal late in the third period, Cal Wilson (left) celebrates with teammates Ben Kerr, Colton Lockridge and Cooper Seaton. (Photo by Jeff Gard)

Quinte West took a 2-0 lead in the second period on goals by Joseph Nieman and Camden Slone, who scored shorthanded. Slone also drew the lone assist on Nieman’s earlier goal.

Wilson, who scored twice in the contest, cut the deficit to one for the Stars with just over three minutes to play in that middle frame. Liam Mulder earned an assist on the play.

A back-and-forth battle ensued in the third period and Wilson notched his second goal with only 41 seconds left on the clock, just as Napanee was pulling goaltender Carter Cork in order to get an extra attacker on the ice.

Overtime was played at 3-on-3 and the Golden Hawks had scoring opportunities during the short time the extra frame lasted before Davey wired his shot high into the Quinte West net at the 1:19 mark to secure the victory for the Stars.

Napanee goaltender Carter Cork makes against Quinte West’s Camden Slone and Riley Kavanagh early in overtime. (Photo by Jeff Gard)

“We had to believe that we could always come back and that’s what we did,” Davey said. “It’s a good tournament. We knew we had (won it with a comeback victory) two years ago. We had confidence. We really wanted to win it, our coaches really wanted to win it so we did.”

Both Napanee and Quinte West were undefeated at the tournament heading into Sunday’s championship game. In round-robin play, the Stars earned a 5-0 win over the Northumberland Nighthawks and tied the Kingston Canadians 4-4 and the Golden Hawks 4-4. In addition to that tie, Quinte West defeated the Nickel City Sharks 5-1 and the Belleville Jr. Bulls 5-4.

In the semifinals, the Stars earned a big 7-1 win over Nickel City while the Golden Hawks edged Kingston 4-3.

Members of the Napanee Stars U13 team are: Brock Boutilier, Brayden Hartwick, Jack Sutton, Colton Lockridge, Cal Wilson, Carter Cork, Cooper Seaton, Keegan York, Bauer Desveaux, Liam Mulder, Brock Alaver, Wes Davey, Ben Kerr, Oliver Kimmett, William Babcock and Zachary Wilde. Joining Kerr on the staff are assistant coaches Jay Sutton and Nate Murphy, trainer Jenn Davey and assistant trainer Mandy Wilson.

Napanee also had success a month ago in the Kingston Canadiens U13 tournament, Nov. 6-7, losing in the final to the Ottawa West Golden Knights.

Tournaments are a great opportunity for the Stars to grow as a team.

“With COVID and everything we haven’t been together that much so it’s nice to get away for the weekend, do some team camaraderie stuff, have some team dinners and have some nice wins together,” Kerr said.

Napanee will compete at the International Silver Stick Finals in Sarnia from Jan. 14 to 16.

Davey has fond memories of the last time his team competed there and expects another great experience.

“There were a lot of teams there from everywhere,” he recalled. “It was just crazy having all the teams there. We went to a Sarnia Sting game, we traded pins and talked to the other teams from everywhere. It was a pretty cool experience.”

Members of the regional Silver Stick runner-up Quinte West Golden Hawks U13 ‘A’ team, which had a great tournament, are: Sullivan Tait, Kale Tawse, Joseph Nieman, Riley Kavanagh, Fynn Ralph, Malachi Hoornweg, Hunter Bradbury-Reed, Hayden Parent, Antonio Popiel, Logan Wain, Owen James Curran, Lane Sharp, Rhet Sharp, Rhys Lawrence and Camden Slone. The staff includes head coach Shane Frost, assistant coach Shawn Nieman, trainer Nick Hoornweg and trainer at large John Lawrence.

The Napanee Stars U13 team celebrate after winning the Northumberland Regional Silver Stick on Sunday, Dec. 5 in Cobourg.