For the first time, five Mustang teams made their way to various locations throughout BC to compete at the BC Hockey Provincial Championships last week.
Of the two peewee teams, two bantam teams and the one midget, the Peewee Mustangs A team, competing in the division’s tier three, had the best results, taking silver after losing 5-2 New Westminster, BC, in the gold medal game.
Going 4-2 at the Championships, the Mustangs advanced to the final with a 4-2 win over the North Island Triport Eagles.
“It was probably one of our most complete games we’ve played,” said Mustangs coach Kerry Pettitt. “From front to back, very little panicking, good composure—that was a game we would have liked to have in the last game … But we needed that game to move on.
“Everybody played smart, made good decisions with the puck—it was just one of those games where everybody was on.”
The starting forward line for the Mustangs, made up of Riley Pettitt, Wyatt Gale and Jared Steinbach, produced the bulk of the scoring, accumulating a total 48 points.
“They had a good tournament and led the way for us,” said Pettitt.
Riley Pettitt and Gale scored the Mustangs’ two goals in the finals.
Bantam Mustangs A leave with winning record
The Bantam Mustangs A squad began the tournament looking to be on their way to gold, winning their first three games in the division’s third tier. However, the Mustangs fell short in their final two contests, leaving with a 3-2 record.
“We played really well,” said Mustangs coach Dave Pearson. “We were one win or tie away from making the playoffs, which is really good for our team.
“The two teams that finished ahead of us in our division ended up being one and two in the tournament.”
The second place team, the 100 Mile House Milers, actually lost to the Mustangs 5-3 in the round robin section of the tournament. The Mustangs took the game after coming back from being down 3-0 in the first period.
“Our senior guys, Gibson Pearson and Brett Roulston had an excellent tournament,” said Pearson. “Overall, everyone had a point in the tournament they can be proud of. All our players on our team competed and made things happen and showed that we belonged.”
Bantam B team takes fourth, Nicest Team Award
A lack of contact hockey in the territory leaves local teams at a disadvantage when playing Outside, says Bantam Mustangs B team coach Ernie Jamieson.
“We’re in a contact tournament … and our guys are going in there a little blind to it because they don’t have that in Whitehorse minor hockey,” said Jamieson, who was not the only coach to bring up the subject. “Your kids would be better off playing contact hockey here in Whitehorse with quality reffing so they know what they’re up against when they leave the territory.
“They didn’t know how to throw the check or take it. They’re learning as they’re going, and that’s not fair.”
Despite learning contact skills on the fly, the Bantam Mustangs B team still finished fourth in the fourth tier with a 2-3-1 record.
The Mustangs finished the championships with a close 6-4 loss to Revelstoke, BC, who went on to finish first. The teams were tied 4-4 after two periods of play.
“That was an excellent game,” said Jamieson. “It was probably our best game.”
For their conduct on and off the ice, the team was given the Nicest Team Award.
“They actually told us by the third day of the tournament that they picked us,” said Jamieson. “They phone businesses around the community and had people monitoring all the teams.”
Leading the team in scoring was a forward line made up of Tyler Wiens, Spencer Jamieson and Trevor Whynot.
“They were a small line, but they were really productive,” said Jamieson.
“Scott Peterson, our captain, was probably the fastest guy in the tournament.
“He took hit after hit, but he’s so conditioned that he just bounced up and went again.”
Midget Mustangs go 1-3-1
The Midget Mustangs may not have won a medal or produced a winning record, but the team nonetheless left with something to be proud of, winning the Sportsmanship Award.
“It says a lot, especially for that age group,” said Mustangs coach Jim Stephens. “I’m quite proud of our guys for getting that and how they carried themselves on and off the ice.”
The Mustangs began the tournament on a bit of a sour note, tying Vancouver 1-1 after a goal by the Whitehorse team was called back. However, two games later the Mustangs took their lone win, defeating the 100 Mile House Milers 4-1.
“Zach Moses had a great tournament,” said Stephens. “He had three goals. Cody Underhill, he got three or four goals. They were our two best players.
“Both our goalies were just tremendous—Brad Gustafson and Steven Harlow. I think we had the best goaltending in the tournament … scouts were asking about our goalies.”
B team goes winless
Since it was the first time the Mustangs organization submitted a B team in the peewee division, experience was the most important byproduct of the trip, said coach John Grant.
“We didn’t win any games, but we had fun,” said Grant. “We were close in a couple, but we just couldn’t seem to play 60 minutes.
“It was a good experience for them anyway.”
Although winless in six games, the Mustangs were not without some close calls. Playing in tier four, the Mustangs started the Championships with a 5-4 loss against Golden, BC. Then, in a game against Burns Lake, the Mustangs were down by one for most of the game, but fell apart in the final minutes, allowing four goals in an 8-3 loss.
“Our collapses were pretty strategic—for the other team,” said Grant. “We were basically talking about pulling the goaltender and the lineup we were going to throw out, but it became academic after that.
“All these kids, it was their first time at provincials. It was a good learning experience for them, they basically know what to expect next year.”
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