Category: Juniors

Success for Scotland’s Young Ice Hockey Stars at Nationals Tournament

Pictures by Derek Young Photography

The Dumfries Ice Bowl played host to the next generation of Scottish ice hockey talent this past weekend, as the country’s U9, U11 and U13 teams took on their English counterparts in the second round of the Nationals tournament series. After the U15-U19 age groups battled it out the previous weekend, it was time for the youngest prospects to take center stage across nine highly competitive games.

The action kicked off on Saturday morning with the U11s, who got Scotland off to a blistering start with an explosive 13-4 victory. The game was nip-and-tuck early on, with both sides netting a pair of goals in the opening period. But the Scots seized control in the second, bagging five more strikes to open up a commanding lead. The goals continued to flow in the third as Scotland’s relentless attack kept the English netminder extremely busy.

Their second outing of the day followed a similar pattern of dominance, though England’s defense ensured it was not quite as one-sided. An early shorthanded goal put Scotland ahead, and by the end of the first period, they had established a 3-1 advantage. Two more in the second period extended their lead before England got one back early in the third. But Scotland were relentless, netting four final goals to wrap up an impressive 9-2 win.

In the middle of the day, the U9s took part in a tightly contested mixed-team game. With players from both countries combined, it was Red Team versus Blue Team in a showcase of the brightest prospects at this age level. The entertaining contest finished all square at 7-7, demonstrating the even talent levels and fierce competitive spirit among these future stars. These Scottish ice hockey prospects have been training hard since selection, gaining valuable experience and preparing them for competitive hockey as they move up the age groups.

While the U11s were in stellar form, the U13s experienced a tougher opening day. Despite a valiant effort, they suffered a 6-0 loss in the first game, with England racing into an early lead just a minute after puck drop. Three more England goals in the second period put Scotland on the back foot but as England added two more in the third, including one on the power play it made a comeback out of reach for the Scots.

The second U13 match saw Scotland rally, but England still emerged victorious 8-4 after a real battle. A close first period finished 2-1 to England, who bombarded the Scottish defense with 18 shots. Though the Scots created more chances in the second, they only mustered one goal in reply to England’s six. Showing great resilience in the third, Scotland netted twice more, but it wasn’t quite enough.

Stung by the previous day’s disappointments, the young U13 team regrouped overnight and came out determined to make amends on Sunday morning. That renewed focus paid dividends as they took a 2-0 lead into the first break. Two more strikes in the second stretched the advantage to 4-1 as Scotland worked tirelessly as a unit to capitalise on every opportunity. With frustrations growing in the England camp, the Scots pounced with three powerplay goals to seal an impressive 7-3 win.

Tensions were running high ahead of the U13s’ fourth and final match, with the weekend series poised at 2-1 to England. Scotland struck first only for England to equalise swiftly and then nudge ahead again. But Scotland demonstrated their battling qualities to level at 2-2 before falling behind once more in a pulsating opening period.

England scored just once in a tight second period to take a 4-2 lead into the final twenty minutes. However, fatigue appeared to set in for the Scots during that decisive third period as England took full advantage, adding three more strikes to emerge 7-2 victors and clinch the overall series.

While that defeat capped a 1-3 record for the U13s, their continued improvement across the weekend highlighted the strides they are making in their development.

In stark contrast, the U11s completed a flawless 4-0 sweep, backing up Saturday’s triumphs with two more masterful displays on Sunday. Riding the momentum of those opening victories, Scotland edged a tightly contested first period 3-2 before taking full control with two more goals in the second and another two in the third to prevail 7-2.

The final U11 match was a hard-fought battle. England struck first, finding the back of the net in the opening period. However, Scotland quickly responded, scoring the equaliser less than two minutes into the second period. The game remained evenly contested, but Scotland managed to tally two more goals before the end of the period. In the final period, Scotland capitalized on their power play opportunities, netting two additional goals. The final score was 5-3 in favour of Scotland. In the U13 series, Scotland had an impressive performance, winning all 4 games.

With the Sheffield Draft camp, international trips and now this Nationals event forming a grueling schedule over recent weeks, Scotland’s junior squads did their nation proud with a series of outstanding displays in Dumfries. While results were mixed, the vast improvements and incredible skill levels demonstrated by the youngest age groups provides huge cause for optimism about the future of Scottish ice hockey.