You know a team is desperate for a win when they pull their goalie during a tie-game.
That was the situation for the Atom Junior Mustangs on Sunday.
Competing at the Coquitlam Atom Pup Tournament in B.C., the Whitehorse rep team needed a win for a shot at a medal. A tie was not enough to make the medal round.
“We could have kept it tied for sentimental reasons, to keep the kids on a high,” said Mustangs coach Kirk Gale. “But you go to these tournaments to try to place the best you can.”
The Mustangs went into their final round-robin game winless. Down 2-1 to North Vancouver Storm, Whitehorse pulled their goalie for the extra man and it worked.
Mustangs’ Eric Potvin pounced on a rebound to tie the game with 23 seconds left.
A win could have put the team in the semi so they kept the net empty. It didn’t work.
“A tie was good enough to get into the top-two, so we had to go for the win,” said Gale. “We kept the goalie out and they scored an empty-net goal.
“It was kind of deflating for the kids, but we had to do it in order to get to the top-two.”
The loss put the Mustangs in the seventh/eighth-place game. The Mustangs won the cross-over game 5-3 over the Vancouver Spirit to take seventh.
Potvin scored twice in the game. Teammates Aimery Barrault, Kyle Bierlmeier and Kyron Crosby also contributed goals.
“We pretty much dominated that game,” said Gale. “It could have been an 8-2 game. The kids played really well.”
The Mustangs opened the tournament with a 5-3 loss to the Ridge Meadows Rustlers.
“It was a close game,” said Gale. “The boys came out a little jittery, which is normal. We’re slow out of the gates and never really picked up our game.”
Whitehorse then took a 5-0 loss to the Burnaby Bulldogs before facing North Vancouver.
“They got better as the game progressed and I think they got more comfortable playing in that atmosphere with other teams,” said Gale. “They don’t get to play against kids their own age (in the Whitehorse rec league), they play against older kids.”
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