A territorial rivalry is in the works for the Yukon bantam boys hockey team at the Arctic Winter Games.
A dramatic Yukon comeback win over NWT on Thursday makes things more interesting for the today’s bronze medal game, a rematch with the NWT squad.
Down 3-1 after two periods, Yukon coach Mike Johnson’s locker room pep talk turned things around.
Four goals in the last period, including a hat trick from Coty Fraser, gave the boys their first win of the tournament.
The team has a record of one win, two losses and one tie after the round robin.
“We’ve had some mess ups, but we’re in the bronze medal game,” said Travis Park.
Coming off their comeback win, the players are confident about their chance to make the podium. “We’re going to win; it’s our game,” said Daniel Legoff.
Despite the losing record, every game was close, according to Johnson; there weren’t any bad losses.
“I’m pretty happy with the team’s performance,” he said.
It’s been a bit of a struggle for the Yukon boys, mostly comprised of the Whitehorse bantam Mustangs rep team with a new third line of house league players.
Backup goalie Joseph Bunn from Haines Junction, and Daniel Legoff and Tavis Sturko from Whitehorse joined the team for the games.
Mustang Chantal Rivest is playing for the Yukon junior female team.
After the bronze-medal game, team Yukon will become the Whitehorse Mustangs again and take off for the BC provincial championships in Richmond.
Johnson said the Arctic Games are a unique experience for his team, which is pretty familiar with road trips.
“There’s more intensity, more fans in the stands,” he said. “We’re in it for a whole week, living together … there’s a lot more emotion involved.”