Local youth hockey has seen many great teams this year.
Two of the best squads go into action this Saturday in the finale of the WestTel Youth Roller Hockey League.
The WestTel arena of Kigns Sports Centre hosts the Appleby Sharks against the Five Continent Leafs at 8:45am in the 13U PeeWee League.
Statistically the sides have been among the league’s powerhouses. Appleby finished the regular season atop the standings at 4-2-3.
Key to their success has been the play of its young stars Tynan Klein (team’s leading scorer with 32 points), Josiah Derksen (21 points) and Ben Ashman (14 points).
Meanwhile the Leafs come in after finishing third in the standings at 4-4-1. The side finished second in scoring with 58 goals while statistically they boasted the best defense (allowing a league-low 46 goals).
Five Continent has been steadied by four main players in Chris Messer (29 points), Jagger Hope (25 points), Aaron Hersant and Michael Matthews (20 points).
Hope in fact could be the key for the Leafs if he hangs around goal and sends in a bevy of shots. He had four points last week against Hurley’s in the Leafs’ 13-3 rout.
Meanwhile Ryan Japal could be the difference-maker for Appleby. If the newcomer pushes up on offense more good things can happen. Proof of that came last Saturday when he delivered two big points in Appleby’s 7-3 playoff win against Vampt.
To this reporter Saturday’s championship depends on which defense steps up the most. The Leafs look good in that area thanks to goalie Sean Whewell. Though Appleby struggled on defense this season (allowing 62 goals), they too have a star goaltender in Dylan Bostock.
As Appleby coach Tim Derksen said last week Saturday’s winner will require a ‘total team effort with players contributing to an exciting game.’