The Bantam Navy 99 Team traveled to the Pittsburgh Mid Winter Classic Tournament with high expectations coming off of a solid shutout victory the weekend before and two strong practices during the week leading up to the trip. Coach Spicer said, "Did you see how they praticed this week? They're ready!"
On Saturday morning, the Predators faced a local Pittsburgh Team, the Ice Renegades, with a large following of local fans. After taking a 2-0 lead into the 3rd period, the Ice Renegades fought back to tie the game at 2-2 late in the period. With only a few seconds remaining, the Predators got the puck deep in the Ice Renegades defensive zone and fought for the puck. Brian McCauley got the game winner from close-in on a tough angle with only 2.3 seconds remaining. The Predators came out on top 3-2.
The second game of the tournament on Saturday afternoon had the Predators facing another tough opponent, the Butler County Ohio Redhawks. After trailing 1-0 early, the Predators came to life and scored a couple of goals. A strong defensive performance held off the Redhawks with a final of 4-2.
The team had confidence going into Sunday's game against the New Jersey Jaguars. However, the Predators faced a loose opponent looking to upset the top team. The Predators played a solid game and delivered a 3-0 shutout win over the Jaguars. The Predators were headed to the Bantam A championship on Monday facing the local Pittsburgh Ice Renegades in a rematch from Saturday's battle.
The Predators took an early 2-0 lead and added another tally to make 3-0 in the second period. Some tough penalties against the Predators left them short handed for most of the remaining game with two 5 on 3 powerplays to try to hold their lead. The Predators could not hold off the Ice Renegades who scored 4 unanswered goals to take the game 4-3. The team was deflated. However, this Predators team gained a lot of confidence and a realization that it can play at a high level of competition. In its bracket, the Predators were the only team to beat the other 3 opponents. Going 3 wins and 1 loss and coming that close to the winning it all was a great experience for all. This Predators team is ready to see how good they can become!