Bruises heal, but hardware is forever.
The Yukon Mustangs took some early season knocks but came away with a silver medal at the South Okanagan Minor Hockey’s Bantam Rep Tournament over the weekend in Osoyoos, B.C.
“The players all played well,” said Mustangs head coach Kirk Gale. “It was their first hitting tournament. A lot of hurts, a lot of people came to the bench keeled over, so we were down players now and again. But they certainly persevered and got through it.”
The Yukon rep team capped their first tournament of the season — a Tier 3 tournament — with a 5-2 loss to the Kamloops Blazers in the final on Sunday. The Mustangs took a 2-1 lead on goals from Eric Potvin and Liam Hudson, before allowing four third-period goals for the Blazers.
“We ran out of gas, had a few players hit from behind — so we were down to eight forwards — got some penalties and got into penalty trouble,” said Gale.
The Mustangs reached the final with a 5-3 win over South Okanagan. Kyle Schwantz, Landon Marsh, Saul Gale, Sasha Jirousek, Hugo Burgess found the back of the net for Yukon in the game.
The Mustangs opened their first road trip with a decisive 6-2 win over the Vernon Vipers with goals from Hudson, Schwantz, Potvin, Burgess and Cole Cowan.
The only team to beat the Mustangs in Osoyoos were the Kamloops Blazers, and they did so twice. The Mustangs lost 2-1 to the Blazers in their second round robin game, with a controversial game-winning goal, said Kirk.
“Our goaltender’s mask came off but the refs didn’t see it and blow it down, so they scored on our goaltender (Quinn Howard) when he didn’t have his mask on,” said the coach.
Josh Zaccerelli scored for Yukon in the game, and Hudson got the assist.
The Mustangs finished the round robin with a 4-1 win over the Cloverdale Colts. Ashton Underhill scored two and teammates Nolan Matthews and Hudson added the others.
“All and all it was a pretty successful weekend. The kids played five games, which is about as much as you can play,” said Kirk. “They played really well as a team, they tried really hard, they did everything we asked them to do.”
Goalies Howard and Dawson Smith “played well. We had no problem with our goaltending,” he added.
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