The June 24 fire at the Canada Games Centre is still having an effect on local hockey teams.
With ice-time in high demand because of the delayed opening of two rinks, the Whitehorse bantam Mustangs had only one game under their belts when they headed to the Olds Grizzlys Bantam AA Invitational in Olds, Alberta, over the weekend.
“With the situation with the ice-time (in Whitehorse) we looked at it as a tune-up,” said Mustangs head coach Barry Blisner.
Nonetheless, the Mustangs picked up two wins en route to an eighth-place finish out of 11 teams. Add in the fact the young team only has four returners and it’s a pretty good result, said the coach.
“We have six defence and two goalies, and out of those eight spots, we only have one second-year guy back there. We have another guy who is second-year age, but basically we have four new defencemen back there. And both our goalies are first-year.
“So I think we played quite well.”
In their placement game, the Mustangs jumped out to a 4-0 lead before downing the SSAC United Cycle 6-2 for eighth.
Scoring for the Mustangs was Dylan McQuaig, who was named captain in Olds, with two goals and an assist. Assistant captain Cole Comin scored a goal and had an assist.
“Josh Tetlichi, our goalie in that game, was the star,” said Blisner. “He had quite a few shots in that game and played quite well.”
The Mustangs opened the tournament with a comeback win over the hosting Olds Chiefs. Down 3-0 after the first, the Mustangs fought back to win 8-5.
“After the first period, we turned it right around and the kids really dominated the rest of the game,” said Blisner.
In the win, McQuaig had two goals and three assists, while assistant captain Alex Hanson put up three goals and an assist and teammate Karter Kazakoff knocked in two goals.
“Dylan’s line, with Alex Hanson and Levi Johnson, really played well,” said Blisner. “Those two in particular (McQuaig and Hanson), being second year bantams and having played in those tournaments last year, were a big help, especially when down.
“They kept plugging along and really turned that game around for us.”
In their second game the Mustangs faced the St. Albert Steel, losing 6-2. In the game, the Mustangs dropped a 2-0 lead to Steel who went on to finish third.
“That was a game I think we should have won,” said Blisner. “We took a lot of penalties … and some tough calls, but that one of the things you have to expect when you go away to tournaments.”
Levi Johnson was the Mustangs’ only multiple point getter with two goals.
The Mustangs also took a 5-3 loss to the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers before a 10-5 loss to the CAC Alberta Honda West, who took fourth.
In the final loss, Hanson had two goals, Kadin Kormendy had a goal and assist, and Jack Blisner helped out with two assists.
“We were in it the whole time, but the bounces didn’t go our way,” said Blisner of the Rangers game. “It was a pretty rough game.
“We don’t play contact (in Whitehorse), but there’s wasn’t a game down there where the physical play affected us.”
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