It could have been the comeback of the season for the Whitehorse midget Mustangs, but just coming close - so close - provided enough of a lesson for his team, said coach Jim Stephens.
“That was a great learning experience for them to never give up - in hockey or whatever,” said Stephens. “If you keep working hard, you get good results.”
After finding themselves down 5-1 at the end of the first period, the Mustangs came alive in the second (of two) period against Air North/Cinderwood, but could not score that final goal, losing 7-6 in the Whitehorse Rec League, A division on Monday at Takhini Arena.
“They played a great second half and if it wasn’t for our goaltender and a couple lucky bounces, they would have tied the game and beat us,” said Cinderwood coach/player Jay Glass. “They didn’t quit. They could have come out and just finished the game, and it could have been 9-2. But they did what their coaches asked, played hard and they could have won that game.”
A close game for most of the first, the league leading Cinderwood allowed a power play goal from Mustang Trevor Hanna to set the score at 2-1 before catching fire and scoring three of their own in 23 seconds to end the first.
“We just we’re playing our positions and were just scrambling,” said Hanna, who scored in the second for a four-point game. “We were standing flatfooted - we didn’t have our feet moving.
“Our coach, Jim, gave us a pretty inspirational speech (during the intermission). We turned everything around in the second, we were playing our positions, kept our feet moving and had great goaltending.”
The change in the Mustangs was clear in the second, keeping pressure on Cinderwood from the start and scoring under two minutes in. However, as the Mustangs finally moved to within one at 6-5, Cinderwood’s Burt Stephens drew Mustangs goalie Steven Harlow out of his crease on a bit of a break, cutting across and sending the puck into the open net.
Mustangs’ Zach Moses scored his second goal of the game with 4 minutes, 31 seconds left to move his team back within one. Also having two-point games for the Mustangs were Travis Rivest, Jeremy Schmidt and Cody Mitchell, each with two assists, and Morris Morrison with a goal and assist.
“They had a sluggish first half and our guys were skating well,” said Glass. “Their coaching staff gave them a good tongue lashing, I bet.
“It’s not that they played a bad first, but they weren’t ferocious, they weren’t relentless and they came out in the second half with a new attitude.”
Helping keep Cinderwood on top were Wes Marcsh and Ben Wondga, both with two goals and two assists. Martin Lawry and Kirk Gale also scored for Cinderwood while Ryan Kinney produced three assists.
“These guys are learning and a lot of (Cinderwood) are really good players,” said Stephens. “So I told them, ‘Forget about the first, let’s win the second. We just have to play like we can.”
In the following Division A game Monday night, the Roadhouse rolled over the Boston Pizza Hawks with the score of 9-6. Having a huge night, by any standards, was Roadhouse’s Scott Horsey, scoring five goals in a six-point night, while teammates Clint Teichrobe amassed four points with three assists and Jamie Cairns racked up four points with two of each.
Lance Brown led the charge for the Hawks with two goals and an assist.
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