Oswego Squirts Advance to State Tournament

The Oswego Squirts Celebrate after winning Section
The Oswego Squirts Celebrate after winning Section

The Oswego Speedway Squirts season long quest to reach the NYSAHA State Championship Tournament was fulfilled this past weekend with a 1st place finish at the Central NY Sectionals Tournament in Auburn, NY. Oswego faced off against the best teams in central New York (Rome, Binghamton and Camillus) and left with a 3-0 record and the Central Section title. This is believed to be the first OMHA Squirts Sectional Championship in the last 25 years.

The Speedway Squirts are a team of 12 boys and 1 girl, all either 9 or 10 years old, who came together in September of 2009 with a common goal of reaching the State Tournament. The team has worked diligently throughout the long season, consistently following a team motto of “WE > me”, to achieve the status of being one of the best 8 Squirt teams in New York State.

RJ Grimshaw is the head coach of the Speedway Squirts and he is assisted by Anthony Ciappa and Bill Greene. Team members are: JP Ciappa, Jarrett Dudley, Billy Greene, Trent Grimshaw, Bryce Hourigan, Addison Lee, Brandon Meyers, Chase Porter, Lynch Raby, Allie Rodgers, Nate Schultzkie, Kameron Whipple and Asher Zych.

Sectionals Game Action:

Oswego v Rome:

The Speedway Squirts began Sectionals play with a Friday afternoon contest against the Rome Grizzlies. Despite being outshot 8-1 in the first period Oswego managed to take a 1-0 lead on a Chase Porter wrist shot from the blue line, assisted by Asher Zych. Following a Rome goal midway through the second period the high powered Oswego offensive attack took control of the game, outshooting the Grizzlies 16-4 in the decisive third period. With 7 minutes remaining in the contest Brandon Meyers slid the puck past the Rome goalie, assisted by Zych, to give Oswego a 2-1 lead. Just over 1 minute later a Kameron Whipple wrist shot found the back of the net to increase the lead to 3-1. Trent Grimshaw scored an unassisted empty net goal in the games waning seconds to give Oswego a 4-1 victory. Oswego goalie Jarrett Dudley finished with 16 saves in the game.

Oswego v Binghamton:

Early Saturday morning the two best teams in the Central Section squared off when the Speedway Squirts tangled with the Binghamton Jr. Senators. Following a back and forth, evenly matched but scoreless first period, a Whipple goal, assisted by Meyers and Grimshaw, only 17 seconds into the second put Oswego on top 1-0. With just over 3 minutes remaining in the second period the hard charging Senators managed to get the puck past Dudley to tie the score at 1. In similar fashion to the previous period, Grimshaw scored early in the third (50 seconds) to give Oswego a 2-1 lead. The Grimshaw goal was assisted by Bryce Hourigan. The Senators mounted a furious rally in the third period to try to tie the game but the formidable Oswego defensive unit consisting of Addie Lee, Chase Porter, Lynch Raby and Allie Rodgers along with Dudley (22 saves) thwarted all scoring efforts and the game ended with a 2-1 Speedway Squirts victory.

Oswego v Camillus:

Heading into Sunday’s show down with Camillus the Speedway Squirts knew that a win or a tie would guarantee a trip to the State Tournament. Camillus, however, was also still alive and needed a victory by a margin of 3 goals or more to steal the State Tournament spot from Oswego.

The Cougars came out of the gates flying and only 5 minutes into the contest had taken a 2-0 lead. The Speedway Squirts, however, settled down and behind the stellar play of Dudley (26 saves) held Camillus at bay. Over 1:30 into the second period defenseman Allie Rodgers made a play that turned the game around for Oswego. In the defensive zone, while being challenged by a Camillus forward, she stole the puck and skated up the left side of the ice past the Camillus defense and in on the goalie. Rodgers faked a forehand shot and went across the crease to her backhand and deftly slid the puck into the back of the net. The Oswego team and it’s considerable fan base at the game felt the momentum of the game turn. Three minutes later Grimshaw beat the Camillus goalie on the glove side to tie the contest at 2. His goal was assisted by Chase Porter and JP Ciappa. With 2 minutes remaining in the second period a Meyers goal, assisted by Grimshaw and Whipple gave Oswego its’ first lead at 3-2. Only 33 seconds into the third period Meyers scored again, assisted by Zych and Nate Schultzkie, to give the Speedway Squirts a commanding 4-2 lead. The Cougars kept up the pressure but were unable to net any more goals and the game ended with a 4-2 Oswego victory.

After completing their well earned run to the Sectional title the focused Oswego squad quickly turned their attention and focus to the upcoming State Tournament in Binghamton at the Broome County College Arena. Oswego’s games are: Friday, March 12th at 5:30 pm vs the Greater NY Stars; Saturday, March 13th at 8:00 am vs the Tonawanda Lightning; and Saturday, March 13th at 4:30 pm vs the Massena Thunder. Semi-final games will be played on Sunday, March 14th at 10:00 am and 12:00 pm with the State Championship game at 6:00 pm.

The players, coaches and parents would like to thank the Oswego community for all the support they have received throughout the long season.

More information about the Oswego Speedway Squirts, including a complete game schedule, can be found on the teams’ website at http://www.eteamz.com/oswego_squirts/.