Bantam Mustangs reach finals in Kamloops

Reaching a goal is great, but surpassing it is icing on the cake.

Reaching a goal is great, but surpassing it is icing on the cake.

Playing up a tier in the Kamloops Bantam Tier 2 Tournament last weekend, the Whitehorse FSC bantam Mustangs surpassed their goals of making the semifinal, reaching the final where they lost 6-3 to the hosting team, taking silver.

“We’re playing up a level to make sure we’re getting the toughest competition we can handle,” said Mustangs head coach Jay Glass. “Our goal going into this tournament was to get a semifinal game and we did that. To get into the final was a super bonus.”

The Mustangs began their stay in Kamloops with a 5-5 tie in an exhibition game against the Kelowna Rockets. From there the team trampled Seattle 5-2 and tied Kamloops 7-7 after dropping a 7-5 lead late in the game.

“We got a couple suspect penalties and we somehow let them tie the game with 19 seconds left,” said Glass.

The Mustangs then ousted Dawson Creek with a 3-1 win to reach the semifinal where they downed the Port Alberni Bulldogs by the same score.

“That was probably the best game of the tournament,” said Glass of the win over the Bulldogs. “I would say it was the grittiest performance by us because we were under a lot of pressure.”

Scoring for the Mustangs against the Bulldogs were Jared Steinbach with two and Scott Peterson with the remainder.

“The line of Jared Steinbach, Tyson Glass and Matthew McCarthy – until he got hurt – were the best for putting the puck in the net,” said Glass. “I think they got 14 or 15 points each over the weekend.

“The other line with Riley Pettitt, Scott Meredith and Tyrell Hope played well – they didn’t score as much as they would like or we would like – but they still played a solid game.

“The third line also did the job they had to do. All and all, we’re pretty happy.”

Nigel Sinclair-Eckert played in net for all but one game for the Mustangs, making 40 saves in the semifinal.

“Breyin Wiens played in the second game against Kamloops and he had a decent game, but the thing is Nigel was very good in the first game and played against Dawson Creek and he was very good again,” said Glass. “We basically had to go with what we would call the ‘hot goaltender’- we always do that. It could be Breyin, it could be Nigel, but this weekend it was Nigel.”

Hindered by injuries on the Mustangs bench, the team still fought hard in the finals with Steinbach again putting two onto the board and defencemen Charles Dagostin scoring the third.

“We were down two defencemen and one of our captains, Matthew McCarthy, hurt his shoulder,” said Glass. “I really thought we could have won that game – we had a lot of chances to win it.”

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