The Female Mustangs’ first test of the season begins on Thursday and the Whitehorse rep team is starting to click.
Playing in an exhibition game against an elite team made up of players from the Whitehorse Women’s Hockey League on Saturday at the Canada Games Centre, the Mustangs managed to eke out a 7-7 tie.
The tie showed signs of improvement, said Mustangs head coach Louis Bouchard.
“We played these ladies twice (before) and they beat us up pretty badly the first time, and second time also, but this time a 7-7 tie is pretty good,” said Bouchard.
The Female Mustangs will be leaving this week to compete at the third annual Wickenheiser Hockey Festival tournament in Burnaby, B.C.
They have to hit the ground running for their first tournament of the season. Because of the team’s wide range in ages, from 10 up to midget age, the Mustangs have not been playing in the Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association’s rec league this season.
“We’re not playing in the league anymore because we have a young team,” said Bouchard. “We have seven returning players from last year. We felt it would be dangerous to have 10-,11-, 12-year-olds on the ice with midget boys.
“An 18-year-old boy versus a 12-year-old girl is just not going to work.”
A strong performance at the Wickenheiser tourney will not be the team’s first. In 2010, the Mustangs, then the Northern Avalanche, won gold in the Tier 3 draw, outscoring the competition 23-1 over five games at the inaugural tourney.
Last year the Mustangs went 2-2 to capture fourth in Tier 2.
Scoring for the Mustangs on Saturday was right-wing Maddie Nicholson with two, centre Sierra Oakley with two, centre Lynsey Keaton with two and captain Dana van Vliet with one.
“We’ve tried different defence pairings today and it just worked out great,” said Bouchard. “We were relying a lot on our veterans at the defence position. We have (Madison) Logan, who used to play centre for us, I asked her to play defence this year and her and (Hannah) Turner are working out great. They are just moving the puck great and today we were able to find the back of the net.”
Following the Wickenheiser tournament the Mustangs will be traveling to Fairbanks, Alaska, for a series in February. The rep team will then be in the Richmond Ice Classic in March.
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