Peewee A Mustangs head coach Kirk Gale is “very pleased” with his team. He has plenty of reason to be.
His Whitehorse rep team rallied from an opening loss to win four straight and claim gold at the 11th annual International Seafair Icebreaker Rep Tournament in Richmond, B.C., over the holiday weekend.
“Their play on the ice was excellent and their professionalism off the ice – everyone did well on and off the ice,” said Gale. “It was great to have them down there for the first tournament of the year. It was a lot of fun and the kids enjoyed it.”
The Mustangs took gold with a 7-4 win over the South Delta Storm from Delta, B.C. on Monday in the Tier 2 tournament.
“Our kids were very disciplined,” said Gale. “We took a few penalties we probably shouldn’t have taken, but for the most part the kids played well, they were disciplined, and they got better every game, which is really important.
“We have a few first-years and it’s a bit of a jump to play against second-year players, especially in the second tier because we’re Tier 3. Every kid on the team got better and more comfortable as the games went along.”
The Mustangs’ first line of Dylan Cozens, Bryce Anderson and Isaac Williamson did a lot of the heavy lifting over the weekend.
Cozens scored 21 of his team’s 30 goals in Richmond. In two games he played a part in all of the Mustangs goals.
Cozens and Anderson also play up an age division with the Bantam A Mustangs.
“Those guys have been playing together for a little while now and they see each other well on the ice, for sure,” said Gale.
“They were really strong; they tallied 90 per cent of the goals.”
In Monday’s final, Cozens registered five goals and two assists, while Williamson had a goal and three assists, and Anderson racked up five assists.
Teammate Brett Walchuck, who was named Player of the Game, contributed a goal, and Liam Hudson had two assists for Whitehorse.
The final was also retribution for the tournament opener. The Mustangs lost 5-4 to the Storm on Friday.
Winger Cozens, who was named Player of the Game, had three goals and two assists. Centre Anderson had a goal and two assists while his other winger, Williamson, had a goal and assist.
The Mustangs reached the final with a 5-1 thumping of the Portland Junior Hawks, the first place team from the other pool, in the semi.
Cozens finished with three goals and an assist and Anderson with a goal and assist. Teammate Oscar Sawicki also found the back of the Hawks net.
Walchuck, Kyron Crosby and Player of the Game Wyatt Peterson each had an assist.
Cozens and Anderson are not the only players on the team that play up a division.
Both Peewee A Mustangs goalies – Dawson Smith and Quinn Howard – are atom age. Smith has a few seasons with the Mustangs program under his belt while Howard is new to the organization.
“The goalies are looking great,” said Gale. “They’re last-year atoms, so they’re not even peewee age.
“It’s really nice having two really good goaltenders. They push each other, they get along with each other and they’re there to learn and there to compete.
“There were a few jitters for both of them when they first started for a couple games, not knowing what to expect … But they held us in there, made some big saves when we needed them. It was great.”
Following the loss to the Storm, the Mustangs downed Vancouver T-Birds 8-2 on Saturday. Cozens’ stick was on fire in the game, amassing seven goals. Anderson had a goal and four assists while Player of the Game Williamson left with three assists. Sawicki and Walchuck each finished with an assist.
Whitehorse then beat the Everett Junior Silvertips from Washington State 6-2 Sunday to reach the semifinal.
Cozens had three goals and three assists. Peterson and Williamson also scored. Anderson, who got the Player-of-the-Game nod, racked up a goal and assist. Sawacki and Hudson also had assists.
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