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The Detroit Jr. Red Wings recently competed in the 23rd annual Brick hockey invitational tournament in Edmonton, Alberta – a prestigious annual Squirt Major tournament that features a field of 14 teams from all over North America.
The Jr. Red Wings squad was selected and coached by former Detroit Red Wings forward Kris Draper, and assisted by Steve Dickinson and Mark Estapa. The team was selected from over 150 hopefuls back in April and skated in three major tournaments to gear up for the Brick.
Detroit started out by tying Boston 3-3 after leading 3-1 after two periods. The comeback mounted by Boston seemed to inspire the boys, as they dominated the remaining games in the third period. The Jr. Wings defeated Toronto Pro Hockey 3-1, tied Minnesota 2-2, beat Atlantic (Canada) 7-2 and beat Saskatchewan 5-1 in their next round-robin games. The team needed a win or tie in their final round-robin game against Chicago to lock up the No. 1 seed headed into weekend play. A game-tying goal with less than a minute remaining meant a 2-2 tie, and the Wings accomplishing their goal of holding a top seed.
A strong Winnipeg team was waiting for the Red Wings in the semifinals, yet Detroit delivered a 3-2 victory, cementing the first trip to the finals for a Detroit team at this tournament since 2009. The Jr. Wings came up just short in the finals, as they fell to the Toronto Bulldogs.
Every player contributed to the success of the team over the week of play, displaying tremendous effort and tenacity. The scoring punch was led by Mark Estapa, Garrett Szydlowski, Tiernan Shoudy, Tanner Dickinson, DJ Dixon, Owen Michaels, Ben Schoen, Kienan Draper and Carter Mazur. Peyton Grainer and Xavier Medina were very strong between the pipes and supported defensively by Jacob Bauer, Nick O’Hanasain Travis Shoudy, Jase Sofo, Jake McCatty and Jacob Truscott.
Mark Estapa and Xavier Medina were named 2nd team tournament all-stars by the tournament committee.