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Niagara Falls
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Sports: Two NOTL teams skate to wins in March Break Classic
Coach Unruh’s and Cwiertniewski’s U13 teams from NOTL, right, both made it to the semifinal. It was a close one, but Unruh’s team won 3-2. Julia Sacco

NOTL’s March Break Classic hockey tournament gives more than 40 teams the opportunity to take part in what for some is their only tourney of the year. 

This past weekend the Centennial and Meridian Credit Union arenas hosted 10 Niagara-on-the-Lake home teams and 33 out-of-towners ranging from U9 rep all the way up to U18 house league.

“The atmosphere is great,” said the tourney’s chief organizer, Gino Patterson. 

“We usually get a good turnout from the U9s because a lot of them haven’t even played a tournament yet, so they come down and they’re very excited.”

Two Niagara-on-the-Lake teams made it to the championship final – and won, including the U13s coached by Matthew Unruh and Steve Lidstone’s U15 team. 

Unruh’s team had an exceptional tournament, winning 10-1 during their final round-robin game, facing off against the other NOTL U13 squad in the semifinal and ultimately winning the championship after three overtime periods and a shootout. 

“The game was really close and for them to end up winning, it’s really awesome,” said hockey mom Stephanie Tribe. 

Tribe said her son Ty Sherlock, who was named MVP, was thrilled and excited.

Unruh said that the team had high hopes going into the tournament and now they’re hyped up for more competition.

“This team had a really great season. We’re actually still looking forward to going to the semifinals in our league championship.”

“We met (the other NOTL U13s) in the semifinals so there was some good friendly competition. Half of those kids are on the select team I coach, so we were also making sure nobody got hurt during the game,” Unruh joked.

The tournament was a great success for all teams involved and Patterson extended a thank you to all the volunteers and helping hands for making it all possible yet again.

“We have a great community, the mayor was out flipping burgers, and Jo Zambito was out there again running the show at the barbecue. It was a great weekend.”

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