BRACEBRIDGE - The season is barely half over and already the entire league knows the name Phantoms.
The Bracebridge Phantoms claimed the 2012-13 season GMHL College Showcase Classic tournament held in Rama Dec. 4 to 6. They went undefeated with only a tie to mar a perfect record, including a major victory over the Bradford Rattlers, which are otherwise undefeated in regular season play this year.
The first-year expansion team skated into the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League’s (GMHL) annual College Showcase Classic Tournament hosted in Rama Dec. 4 through 6 and walked off champions.
With four wins, one tie and a huge first-game victory over the seemingly unstoppable Bradford Rattlers, the Bracebridge Phantoms vaulted themselves into a final against the Toronto Attack where a 6-3 final shocked the arena.
“That was a really big tournament win for us,” said team general manager Tim Dickieson. “It was simply awesome to watch unfold.”
The Rattlers had gone a stellar 22-0 in the GMHL regular season schedule and handed the Phantoms their first loss of the season in the club’s home opener in early September, 1-0 with less than one second on the clock. Bracebridge got to repay the favour by beating them in their first game of the tournament.
“It felt good to get that win against the Rattlers; I don’t think they were too happy to get that first loss,” Dickieson said.
It was a controversial event with the nearby South Muskoka Shield disqualified from the tournament along with the Rattlers in the semifinal rounds when bad blood boiled off the ice and into the wings with a brawl late in the second period.
“We were really hoping to play South Muskoka too; they were in control when they got disqualified and I think it would have been great for the region and local hockey to see an all-Muskoka final,” Dickieson said.
In the final game of the tournament, the Toronto Attack managed to mount a 3-1 lead over the Phantoms, but the local club buckled down to score five unanswered goals and claim the championship banner.
The tournament records don’t count toward the regular season standings, but bragging rights and a growing reputation as a tough, fast and talented team will give the competition pause. The event also allows college and major junior A scouts to see the talent the GMHL has to offer. Dickieson said they got an eyeful of Bracebridge.
“We have a really great group of guys here who really get along great off the ice and love playing for Bracebridge,” Dickieson said. “I think that’s what translates to our success on the ice so far.”