If the Camrose Bantam A Warriors Tournament 2010 last weekend was a test, Yukon’s Arctic Winter Games bantam hockey team definitely got a passing grade.
After a slow start, with a loss 4-3 to Boyle followed by a 2-2 tie against the hosting Camrose team, Team Yukon won silver, reaching the finals where they lost 7-1 to Grande Prairie.
“Every game was a little different,” said Team Yukon coach Kerry Pettitt. “I was mixing lines up, so combinations were a little different.
“This is our Arctic Winter Games team and the first tournament as a team, and we’re feeling each other out, adjusting and trying to gel as a team.
“All and all, I’m very happy with everyone’s output.”
Team Yukon advanced to the finals with a close 4-2 win over Leduc, twice coming back from a goal down. Scoring for Yukon were Liam Webster, Breaden Paun-Burnett, Devaugh Davies and Wyatt Gale.
“That was probably the best game of the tournament; the most exciting to be a part of,” said Pettitt. “They came out hitting the hardest (and they were) a well-coached, well-disciplined team and it was a joy to play.
“We rose to the occasion.”
Because of last-minute travel to BC, a slow start to the tourney could be expected, said Pettitt.
“We don’t like to play on travel days, but because of the Air North flights we would have had to go out on Wednesday, but we decided to take a gamble and flew Friday and played Friday night,” said Pettitt.
The Mustangs actually came out strong in their opener, taking a 3-1 lead over Boyle with goals from Gale, Paun-Burnett and Cole Morris, but allowed three goals in the third period.
“We had a meltdown in the third period; we were not there mentally,” said Pettitt. “But I kind of expected that not everyone would be fresh and sharp. I’ve seen that before at other tournaments when we play on travel days.”
Playing contact hockey, which Team Yukon has limited exposure to in Whitehorse, was also a factor in the opening games, said Pettitt.
“That tires you out too,” he said. “We try to practise it in practice, but it’s not the same. It can wear you down pretty fast.”
In the finals, Davies scored to make it 1-1 before Grande Prairie ran away with the game.
“We mostly ran out of gas,” said Pettitt. “It was two hours after (the semifinal) and the boys were spent.
“They gave it their all, we just could get them rehydrated and rested up properly for that last game.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org