Elusive ‘W’ nailed down by Phantoms

It took time, determination, and persistence, but the Hamilton Phantoms Midget Rep team got its first win of the 2009-10 hockey season.

And they did it in grand style – a 6-0 shutout against the Simcoe Express in the team’s 27th game of the season.

“The monkey is off our back,” quipped coach Chris Gill.

The shutout was earned by veteran goalie Dylan Gill while the offense came from captain Cam Young, Joey Martindale, Derek Cairns, Brady Picard, Adrian Santonato, and assistant captain Kevin Smith. Spencer Clarke and Jordan Salisbury had assists.

Coach Gill said the team was more than jubilant when the game-ending whistle was blown.

“All season they have played teams ranked AA and above in a very tough Hub Alliance loop. All season, we had 17 players out to every practice and we continued to play all three lines, so all players would play. It was a promise made to the parents when the team was formed,” said Gill.

“In 20 years of coaching hockey at many competitive levels, this was by far the sweetest game and victory yet, as the boys showed unwavering commitment, even when they would loose some tough games to other teams. I’m glad it all paid off.”

Gill said he and his staff want this to be “a shining example of what the game is about – dedication, passion and family supporting each other. The parents and players never gave up, they gave it right to the end of the season… as it should be.

“Life lessons well learned. This season in all aspects has been a glowing success for the development of these special hockey players. Confidence to know they belong, is a gift they have all earned through hard work.

What a season to remember. The Phantoms players have formed some solid friendships that will grow for years to come.