Mark Clairmont |

BRACEBRIDGE — Chub Downey would be proud and impressed.

His cup is going to the Lakeland Blacks a deserved U15 Local League champion — even though it probably could have/have been shared with their Muskoka Chrysler Red opponents.

On the second last night of hockey at the Bracebridge Memorial Arena Wednesday, the late legendary Bears coach would have loved the tenacity and play of the 35 teens battled it out among friends in a 1-0 contest.

Fittingly it was probably as good and enjoyable a game as almost any in recent memory in the now considered venerable old barn.

Blacks captain Phenix Chambers celebrates scoring the winner over the Red with 19 seconds to go in a very entertaining and wide open game last night in Bracebridge for the Muskoka U15 championship.

All witnessed by at least 200 loudly cheering fans who got to watch it as close as at any sporting event they could dream of. Platinum seats to sure and that won’t be seen after tonight’s U18 final final championship game.

End to end action that featured both goalies with toe saves, belly pad stops, scrambles, slap shots and highlight reel catcher’s mitt grabs.

While the Muskoka title was on the line, it could still be considered a “friendly,” because both teams were Bears from the combined Bracebridge and Gravenhurst hockey organization. And most went back to school together today.

You could tell that by anytime a player was knocked down concerns were equal on both benches with sticks pounding on the boards when they thankfully got up bruised, but not totally abused.

However that doesn’t mean the play wasn’t fast, intense and highly entertaining.

It’s what hockey at any level should be — rep or not.

Just a plain good — no “great” — game.

The Blacks pose for traditional team photo after their big win. Photo Sarah Wheeler

And it went down to the wire in almost three periods of scoreless action.

They were playing not only the season rubber match game but for all the marbles.

Then with one Red in the box and another joining him for too many men on the ice, the Blacks finally breached the Reds’ defensive stronghold scoring the winner with 19 seconds on the clock.

Too bad it didn’t go to overtime — or even a shootout.

The celebration was as if the Blacks had won the Stanley Cup.

Captain Phenix Chambers was the night’s first star after a nice goal that found the net after another scramble in front of the net.

The little Local sniper was the hero of the night. The goalies had to be the second and third stars.

Chambers and his happy team-mates grab one more photo with the Chub Downey U15 Muskoka Local League Cup.

He and his team-mates not only got to hoist the Chub Downey Cup, but the got a quick skate around with it hoisted high above their heads — which all had smiles on them wide enough to show all their teeth.

The Local League action continues with two more games tonight — the last ever in the Memorial Arena at 6:30 and 8 p.m.

If you want to see some good hockey by local boys and girls in the final games at the 75-year-old downtown landmark head to James Street one more time.

Just like the Stanley Cup, they hoisted their top prize with all hands on it the same way they won the championship. Photo Sarah Wheeler
Great play was end to end with the crowd loving every 45 minutes of it.
Players chase the puck that was back and forth in a game that saw both goalies making highlight reel saves on great shots by the forwards and defence.
The Reds played their hearts out and deserved at least a point for a tie if it had gotten that far. Unfortunately there was no overtime or shootout.
About 200 fans enjoyed a game that fit the occassion of the final week of hockey in the Bracebridge Memorial Arena.
Both teams were on the edge of their seats watching play unfold in front of them as the game went almost scoreless for three periods.
From faceoffs to blue lines and red line, corners and centre ice the action was non-stop and very entertaining.
No matter where you were sitting or standing it was worth watching especially the goalies who had to be second and third stars.


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