The Whitehorse Atom Mustangs saw a dramatic improvement in their tournament play this weekend. After 16 straight losses at tournaments this season, the team claimed silver in the Spring Classic tournament in Richmond, B.C.
In the first game of the round robin the Mustangs snapped their losing streak by winning 4-2 against North Delta.
After an 8-1 loss to Terrace, their next win came in the form of a 6-1 blowout of Portland. A 2-2 tie to Richmond left Whitehorse second in the standings.
In knockout playoff action, the Mustangs again met Richmond, this time marking down a win to put them in the final. After a hard-fought game, Terrace proved to be too much and Whitehorse dropped the game to the top-seeded team 6-0.
The veteran players on the team provided the Mustangs with some lift. Ty Beacon and Huss Breithaupt each received Most Valuable Player awards during the tournament for their excellent playing. The gold medal game MVP award went to Whitehorse’s Noland Matthews despite the game’s final outcome.
Coach Trevor Matthews was encouraged by the result. “The improvement over the year was never more noticeable than what we saw this weekend,” he said.
The Mustang’s coaching staff of Trevor Matthews, Dave Larkin, and Guy Gorrell have been guiding their players all year to put an emphasis on teamwork, and in this tournament the work paid off.
“In each of the six games this weekend, the boys became more and more aware of the value of moving the puck together, of setting up in the offensive zone, and working together to get the best possible shots at the net,” Matthews said.
After a season of many losses, the Mustangs were able to learn from their previous games and find what it takes to win at this level. “The boys played with an intensity that we, as coaches, were looking for all year long,” said Matthews. “All the coaches are very proud of what the boys achieved this weekend.”
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