Takhini Arena will be the scene of hard-hitting, high-level hockey as the Cinderwood Midget Mustangs host the Aldergrove Bruins A1 midget team for a three-game series this weekend.
With 16 Mustangs players on the Yukon’s midget male team for the upcoming Arctic Winter Games, the rep team is hoping for some serious fan support as preparation for playing in front of large, hometown crowds at the Games.
“This is great for us. Our hope is to get a big crowd out to the rink because we’re expecting big crowds at the Arctic Winter Games,” said Mustangs head coach Jay Glass, who is also head coach for Team Yukon. “Our kids don’t get many chances to play in front of a big home crowd when we’re playing local rec league teams. They’re good games, but there aren’t many people at the rink.
“We have a lot of experience playing outside, but playing at home is a whole different experience.”
The series will not be a walk-in-the-park to build the Yukon players’ confidence. The Bruins are a Tier 2 team that finished the regular season in third place in the Pacific Coast Minor Hockey League. The Aldergrove team also just knocked out Burnaby, B.C., in the second round of the playoffs to advance into the third.
The series might be the first time the two teams have played each other, “at least in recent history,” said Glass.
“This is a real challenge for us,” he said. “We’re trying to bring in a good team here for the local fans, to watch some good midget hockey.
“Of course, we want to win the series. That’s what we’re trying to do.
“We’re going to be treating it just like the Arctic Winter Games and the provincials – it’s part of our preparation,” he added. “It’s going to be all-out hockey for us.”
The Cinderwood Mustangs team has had its own successes so far this season.
The Whitehorse rep team reached the semifinal at the Lethbridge Midget AA Tournament in Alberta at the start of the month.
Before the tournament, the Mustangs played an exhibition game against the Calgary Foothills Bisons in Calgary, blanking the home team 3-0 on Wednesday.
Competing at the Richmond International Midget Hockey Tournament over the Christmas holidays, the Mustangs defeated teams from California and Las Vegas to reach the semifinal and finish third out of 20 Tier 2 teams
In their first tournament of the season, the Mustangs dominated the competition at the Abbotsford Midget Memorial 2011 Tournament in November. The Mustangs were never in a losing situation and racked up high-scoring victories en route to winning the Tier 3 tournament. Not even the final was close, as the Mustangs defeated the hosting Abbotsford Hawks 9-1 for the gold.
This weekend’s series will take place Friday at 7:15 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. All games will take place at Takhini Arena and admission is by donation.
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