Gwich’in Flames ignite in finals

The weekend’s Division A final of the 33rd Annual Yukon Native Hockey Tournament featured two NWT teams, but some Whitehorse players had their fingers in the pie.

The weekend’s Division A final of the 33rd Annual Yukon Native Hockey Tournament featured two NWT teams, but some Whitehorse players had their fingers in the pie.

The Fort McPherson Flames came from behind to defeated last year’s Division A champions, EGT Nanooks from Tuktoyaktuk, 4-2 in the final.

Helping the Flames to victory were three Whitehorse players, including Clayton Thomas, who scored an empty netter and had an assist in the final, and Robbie Wells, who had a goal and two assists.

“(Wells) is a great leader in the locker room and a good guy to have; he holds everyone together,” said Flames captain Dallas Jackson.

“Those guys showed a lot of heart on the ice and it was just sweet to come from behind like that.”

Down 2-0 by the end of the first, the Flames eventually took the game with a goal in the second and three in the third. Also scoring for the Flames were Jarvis Ducharme and Gerald Desjarlais.

After the first goal, “from there it kind of turned around,” said Jackson. “We built momentum from there and that was it.”

The Nanooks, who beat the Flames 8-1 the day before Sunday’s final, also had some Whitehorse players, including Cory McEachran, who was named A division’s Best Goalie, and Willy Mason, who was named division MVP.

“We were all over them and they couldn’t score in the first period, then we came out flat in the second and third,” said Nanooks captain Jackie Jacobson. “We have still won this thing three times (in 2000, 2007 and 2009). We’re the first team from NWT to win it three times.”

Braves three-peat in youth division

With three straight youth division titles under their belts, Braves head coach Darius Elias has only one question: “Are officially a dynasty now?”

Old Crow’s Gwich’in Braves took their third consecutive title in the most dramatic fashion, defeating the Watson Lake Wolf Cubs 4-3 in a shootout.

“We hit the post, they hit the post, we hit the post, so we went into a shootout,” said Elias. “(Goalie) Josh Tetlichi stood on his head.

“It was a nail-biter for sure; the crowd went crazy.”

After needing extra shooters, Braves’ Andrew Glada finally got the game winner, while teammates Bohdi Elias and Tristen Miller also scored in the shootout, both keeping the Braves in the game.

Scoring for the Braves in regulation time were Riley Pettitt with two and Miller with a goal and assist.

For the Wolf Cubs it was all Sam Bosack, registering a hat trick.

“These kids went through so much this weekend, playing at 7:30 in the morning games and playing three or four games a day to get to the final,” said Elias. “This is maybe a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To go into overtime and then a double-shootout, these are the things that build character and solid citizens in our territory.

“To top off the tournament like this is something special.”

Finishing third were the Champagne & Aishihik Jr. Storm.

Outlaws slashed in B final

All in all, it’s not bad for a first try.

First time tournament entry the Deer River Slashers (from the Fort Nelson, BC, area) took the B division title beating NWT’s Aklavik Outlaws 6-3 in the final on Sunday.

“We’ve had a lot of players come up here for different teams, but this is the first time we’ve put together a team from Fort Nelson,” said Slashers captain Curtis Dickie. “Everybody is from Fort Nelson.”

Down 1-0 by end of the first period, the Slashers took the lead with a pair of goals in the second and pulled away with four goals in the third.

“Between the second and the third (periods) we had a good talk and got fired up,” said Dickie. “We knew what we had to do. We had to stay out of the box and we had to run and gun like we’ve been playing all tournament and that’s what we did.”

Scoring for the Slashers were Aaron Dendys, Harrison Dickie and Barney Streeper, each with two. Streeper also had a pair of assists.

“We can’t say enough about our goalie (Ty Gullickson), he carried us through this tournament,” said Dickie. “We gave up five goals in five games and that says something.”

The Slashers reached the final with a 5-1 win over third place finishers, the Northern Tutchone Bears from Pelly Crossing.

Predators prey on Wolf Pack

Holding a first period lead until the final buzzer, Whitehorse’s Skylight Predators defeated the Dawson City Wolf Pack 6-2 in the finals of the jamboree division.

Brydan Cook did the most damage for the Predators, scoring four goals and assisting the final goal scored by Kyle Cook, who also had a five-point game, getting four assists. Kevin Krentaku also scored for the Predators.

Putting the puck in the back of the net for Dawson were Michael Baumgartner and Clinten Taylor.

Taking third were the Watson Lake Warriors.

Arrows hit the target in oldtimer final

Like in the jamboree division, the oldtimer final was a matchup between Whitehorse and Dawson City teams.

Further stretching the similarities between the divisions, Whitehorse’s Skylight Arrows downed the Dawson’s Han Timberwolves 7-2 for the title.

Scoring for the Arrows were Chuck Tobin, Rick Smith, Bill Bohmer, Gerry Rivest and Darrel Sturko, with a hat trick and an assist.

Putting the Timberwolves on the board were Jay Glass and Fred Farr.

The Ross River Renegades ended up in third.

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