A short bench didn’t stop the Yukon Bantam Mustangs from posting a long list of goals on the way to bronze on Sunday.
With a roster including just seven forwards and four defence, the Mustangs produced a decisive 9-2 win over Alaska’s Palmer Pioneers in the bantam division’s third-place game of the Whitehorse International Showdown at the Canada Games Centre.
“We’re down a few players because some of the players play on the U16 (Mustangs) and the bantams, so we had to pick up a few players that usually don’t play with us but do practice with us,” said Mustangs head coach Kirk Gale.
“The kids are in good condition and can handle the pace, so they were fine,” he added.
The Bantam Mustangs gave up four players to the U16 Mustangs, who won gold in the midget division, and had another on the disabled list. They also had two players ejected during the bronze game for misconduct.
Still, the Mustangs piled in the goals during the medal game with eight different scorers.
Adam Hennings, Saul Gale, Liam Hudson, Eric Potvin, Kyle Schwantz, Josh Austin and Wyatt Sheardown-Waugh all knocked in the puck for the Mustangs in the bronze game.
The one player to bag two was Wyatt Peterson, who also registered three assists. Teammate Isaac Williamson notched two assists.
The Mustangs, who went 2-2 in the Showdown, also beat the Pioneers 6-2 in the round robin.
The home team lost 5-3 to Alaska’s Wasilla-Mat’su Eagles and 9-1 to the Yellowknife Wolfpack in round robin play.
“The game against Mat’su, we just didn’t get any puck luck and weren’t able to score,” said Kirk. “That’s kind of been our (problem). Even last week in Kelowna we were having a tough time out shooting, out working teams and just weren’t able to score.”
Yellowknife went on to take gold with an 8-2 win over the Eagles in the final. Wolfpack teams also took gold in the peewee division and silver in the midget division.
“They’re just a good team,” said Kirk. “They work hard, they check hard, and they’re just on you all the time. Our guys had trouble adjusting to that style of play and we weren’t able to get much offence at all.”
“It’s petty cool we got bronze. It’s not gold, but it’s still something,” said Austin, who plays forward.
“We definitely control most of our games, we just don’t put points on the board - we don’t score the goals that we need to ... One thing we need to work on is the power play - we need to get more pucks in the net.”
The Bantam Mustangs went 2-2 at a Tier 3 tournament in Kelowna, B.C. the previous weekend. The rep team also went 2-2 at the South Okanagan Minor Hockey’s Bantam Rep Tournament at the start of the season.
“We don’t get many opportunities to play at home, so it was good for their friends and family to come out and watch them play,” added Kirk.
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