Beleaguered Bantam Mustangs win gold in Vernon

The fates were conspiring against the Bantam Mustangs last weekend, but they won anyway.

The fates were conspiring against the Bantam Mustangs last weekend, but they won anyway.

The Yukon rep team overcame adversity to go undefeated for gold at the Vernon Tier 3 Bantam Tournament over the weekend in B.C.

The Mustangs, who won gold the previous weekend at the Whitehorse International Showdown, were missing their skipper before they even hit the road. Head coach Kirk Gale missed the trip because he was sick.

Then they lost forward Errol Ekholm in the first game to a broken collarbone after a sandwich hit delivered by two Vernon players.

In the final defenceman Kyle Schwantz was taken out by a big hit. Then, while trailing the Vernon Vipers in the final, they lost power forward Josh Zaccarelli when he was tossed from the final on a hit-from-behind penalty.

“He was scoring all our goals for us,” said Mustangs coach Tim Ekholm. “He’s a big solid body out there, so when we lost him midway through the game when we were down, it was like, ‘Uh oh, we’re really in trouble now.’”

“So we were down quite a few players for the last part of the game, so lots of juggling of players and positions,” he added. “We were limping to the finish line. It was quite a battle in the end.”

The Mustangs captured gold with a 4-2 win over the host Vipers, coming back from down 2-0, in the final. Zaccarelli scored one before leaving the game, teammate Eric Potvin added two more and Landon Marsh delivered the final blow with an empty netter at the end.

“We just kept our work ethic high and fought the little battles and eventually the puck bounces the right direction,” said Tim Ekholm, who was in the head coach role for his first time in Vernon. “They outworked the other team until the very end.”

The Mustangs opened the tournament with a 4-1 win over Vernon. Zaccarelli, who was named his team’s tournament MVP at the Whitehorse International Showdown, scored all four of his team’s goals in the game.

Yukon then downed Merritt 5-2 and Sooke 5-2 to finish the round robin in first.

“They really played a good team game and they got a ton of shot early in the tournament — we didn’t get the puck in the net as much as we deserved to,” said Tim Ekholm. “In the final game we got a few of those lucky bounces to turn the tide and win that one.”

The Mustangs advanced to the gold medal game with a 2-0 semifinal win over the Port Moody Panthers. Marsh and Nolan Matthews each scored and Quinn Howard got the shutout in net.

“Quinn Howard and Dawson Smith are our two goalies and they definitely kept the back end good,” said Tim.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During our recent conversation, John Nicholson showed me snapshots of his time working on the Yukon riverboats 70 years ago. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: Yukon man relives the riverboat days after seven decades

John Nicholson took summer work on Yukon steamers in the 1950s

Whitehorse City Hall at its Steele Street entrance. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Change of plans approved for city hall

Project would see 1966 city hall demolished

A city map shows the property at 107 Range Road. The zoning is now in place for developers to proceed with plans for a Dairy Queen drive-thru. If plans proceed on schedule the new restaurant is anticipated to open in October. (Cyrstal Schick/Yukon News)
October opening eyed for Dairy Queen

Will depend on everything going according to plan

NDP candidate Annie Blake, left, and Liberal incumbent Pauline Frost. (Submitted photos)
Official recount confirms tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin riding

Both candidates Pauline Frost and Annie Blake are still standing with 78 votes each

Artist’s rendering of a Dairy Queen drive-thru. At its April 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved a zoning change to allow a drive-thru at 107 Range Road. Developers sought the change to build a Dairy Queen there. (Submitted)
Drive-thru approved by Whitehorse city council at 107 Range Road

Rezoning could pave the way for a Dairy Queen

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

Most Read