Crowds came out to cheer on the Whitehorse Mustangs during Hockey Day in Whitehorse on Saturday, but they didn’t always have a lot to cheer about.
Of the 16 games over the day, six were Mustangs games and only two resulted in wins for the home-team rep club – and one of those wins was from a game between two Mustang teams.
The Peewee A Mustangs, the Bantam A Mustangs and the Midget A Mustangs all played games on Saturday that were Game 2s in three-game series.
Of those three teams, only the Peewee Mustangs prevailed.
Hosting Alaska’s Juneau Capitals, the Peewee Mustangs dominated the play so severely in the first two games that in Sunday’s game the teams traded players to even things out.
“Juneau brought in all of their peewee players and they weren’t as strong as the Mustangs team, so the first two games weren’t really competitive,” said Peewee Mustangs head coach Martin Lawrie. “So what we did today (Sunday) was put five Mustangs players over on Juneau and we took five Juneau kids and just played a game.
“It looks like it gave the Juneau kids a lot more confidence because they, individually, played a much better hockey game.”
The Peewee Mustangs won 10-1 on Friday and 9-0 on Saturday at Takhini Arena. Sunday’s game ended with Juneau winning 11-5.
On Friday Payton Fobe had a hat trick and teammate Kailem Letto had two goals.
In Saturday’s game during the Hockey Day celebration, Johnny Elias had a four-point game with two goals and two assists. Kaelen Troke and Joe Stokes each had three points.
“I think it’s great that they came over,” said Lawrie. “I’m hoping that it’s a relationship we can foster. They are one of the few communities that is willing to travel to Whitehorse to play hockey. Hopefully we have a chance to go over there in the new year and play a set of games.”
The Tier 3 Bantam and Midget Mustangs both had their hands full with the Tier 2 Aldergrove Bruins teams in their three-games series. Despite some close battles, both Whitehorse squads went winless.
The Midget Mustangs lost 8-2 on Friday, 3-2 on Saturday and 3-1 on Sunday.
“Friday’s game was our first contact game (in a while), so we just weren’t ready to play,” said Mustangs captain Mike Arnold. “They came out and had a quick start on us, and that’s what hurt us.
“In Saturday’s game we had a better start. We finally got back into contact hockey, it just sucks that that’s when all the commotion took place because that really took us out of the game on Saturday.”
Saturday’s game became a contentious one following a knee-to-knee collision between Bruins’ Austin Berg and Arnold while 1-1 in the second period.
The ref called a five-minute major and Berg was tossed from the game for intent to injure. The call of intent to injure carries an automatic indefinite suspension until an investigation is completed. The British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association is working the Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association in the investigation.
Arnold sat out the rest of the game but played in Sunday’s game, “with a slight injury,” he said.
“It was a lot of fun. It was great to have them up,” said Arnold. “It’s always nice to play in front of your home crowd and have a chance to play a team for a three-game series and build the intensity as the series goes on.
“It’s great for the city of Whitehorse to see this kind of hockey being played.”
“I wouldn’t say there was bad blood between them,” said Aldergrove assistant captain Mark McCarthy. “We’ve had really good games against them – really high-intensity games – it was just a little of the stuff that happens in hockey. Emotions rise up – that happens once in a while.”
Over the three games, Mustangs assistant captains Graeme Close and Matt McCarthy each had a goal and assist, and Alex Hanson had two assists.
In their match-up with the visiting Bruins, the Bantam A Mustangs lost 6-2 on Friday, 4-3 on Saturday and 8-3 on Sunday.
Mustangs forward Levi Johnson scored in all three games and got a pair of assists.
“All weekend long, we skated with them and we’re in their league, that’s for sure,” said Mustangs assistant coach Jamie Cairns. “Our season-long goal is to peak at provincials (in March). We don’t want to peak in October; we want a season-long progression.”
The Mustangs club was involved in two other exhibition games and a league game on Saturday.
The Female Mustangs played a women’s team made up from the best players in the Whitehorse Women’s Hockey League in an exhibition game. Despite goals from Linsey Eby, captain Dana Van Vliet and Hannah Nordlund, the Mustangs lost 8-3.
In the other exhibition game the Atom Junior Mustangs lost 7-5 to the Peewee B Mustangs, who sealed the deal with an empty-netter in the final minute.
“It was back-and-forth, it was a really good game,” said atoms head coach Kirk Gale. “It was an exciting game.”
Midget B Mustangs lost 7-2 to Kwanlin Dun in a rec league game. Kwanlin Dun’s Shane Tisiga had a hat trick while teammate David Skookum had two goals.
Scoring for the Midget Bs were Teagan Duncan and Matthew Jacobson.
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