By Lyle Carter
The ninth annual Phil Sears Memorial Friendship Tournament wound up in exciting fashion earlier this week at the sportsplex in Brookfield.
Minor hockey teams from atom, peewee, bantam and midget took part in the four-day event. The bantam division in particular had fans buzzing.
The Truro Kohler Bearcats (2-0-2) finished first in round-robin play to advance to the gold-medal game. The East Hants Penguins, Brookfield Elks #1 and Brookfield Elks #2 finished in a three-way tie for second place with identical 1-1-2 records.
The Elks #1 team moved on to the championship game based on goals scored and goals against in games played between the three deadlocked teams.
More excitement followed as the gold medal game between the Bearcats and the Elks produced end-to-end hockey and spectacular goaltending by Truro's Logan Willis and Brookfield's Kyle Taker.
Overtime was needed to declare a tournament winner and it was Kaveh Masoumi scoring his second goal of the game who clinched it for Truro.
"It was an intense game, everyone played hard," said Masoumi, 13, of Bible Hill. "Give Brookfield credit. They played really well. I got the shot away from about 20 feet out. Their goalie may have been screened.
"I didn't know the puck went in until I saw the referee hold up his arm and signal a goal. That's when I got pinned to the boards. All our players jumped on top of me in a big heap."
According to Truro coach Wade Conrad, the game and the tournament produced a lot of fun for everyone.
"The kids were all pretty excited," he said. "They worked pretty hard for the win."
He also recalled the man the tournament is named after.
"I knew Philip Sears from playing ball against him. Philip was such a nice fellow. It makes winning this memorial tournament all the more special."
Noah McCallum, who had scored two goals and contributed two assists in Brookfield's previous game, a key 4-4 tie against Truro Orange, also scored the Elks first goal in the final.
"We made good comebacks in both of our last two games," said McCallum, 13, of Brookfield. "I feel really good about how our team played. We had to settle for the silver medal but it could have gone either way."
Elks coach Robert Woodworth, a former outstanding senior fastball player, praised the work of his netminder.
"If Kyle hadn't played so well, we'd never had made it to overtime," he said.
Woodworth also noted that it was nice to see everyone so positive and friendly around the sportsplex during the tournament in memory of Sears.
"I played ball with Philip," he said. "We called him ‘Beat.' That was his nickname. Through minor hockey I got to know him even better. Philip always put his heart into sports. That's the way he coached and he passed this on to his players."
Sears (1966-2002) was from Brookfield and coached minor hockey for a number of years. He enjoyed helping young players develop their skills, taught them the meaning of respect and emphasized the importance of kids having fun when playing sports.
Shawn Bernard, who co-chaired the tournament with John MacMinn, praised committee members, coaches, parents and hockey players for again making the tournament a wonderful time of fun and friendship.
Lyle Carter's sports column appears every Saturday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.