A string of penalties sent the Midget A Mustangs into a downward spiral in their first road trip of the season.
The Whitehorse rec hockey team – now known as the KBL Environmental Mustangs with the addition of a new sponsor – started off on the wrong foot and was unable to recover at the 11th annual International Seafair Icebreaker Rep Tournament in Richmond, B.C. over the weekend.
The Tier 3 Mustangs team took four straight losses at the higher-level Tier 2 tournament.
“In the Arizona game it was 3-1 for the first half of the game and we made 3-2 and started to take over the play,” said Mustangs head coach Barry Blisner. “To be perfectly honest, the wheels just came off the engine. We took a slew of bad penalties and they ended up with four or five power play goals. Obviously, you can’t recoup from that.
“It was just one of those games where we were on our way back, but we took a couple of penalties, got frustrated, and went from bad to worse … We were our own worst enemies in that game.”
In their first game of the tournament, the Mustangs let the Arizona Knights expand a 3-2 lead to an 8-2 win late in the game as Whitehorse took a series of penalties against the Americans.
Mustangs forward Spencer Lessard scored, assisted by Jarrett Peterson and Kadin Kormendy. Forward Levi Johnson notched Whitehorse’s second goal with help from Jack Blisner and Bohdi Elias.
“For a first trip, it was a tough go around, but we have to take any positives we can from it,” said Barry. “Even though we didn’t win any games, I think we can play with those teams. It’s just a matter of setting the course properly and working hard.
“I think our downfall was we got a little bit frustrated on the weekend and it effected, not only the scores, but our record as well.”
Whitehorse suffered a 4-0 loss to the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies from Victoria followed by a 5-1 defeat to the Portland Junior Hawks with defenceman Jake Blisner scoring unassisted.
The Mustangs finished the trip with a 6-0 loss to the hosting Seafair team.
“It’s going to be a bit of a development year, I think,” said Barry, who has just two returning players from last year’s team. “We have so many first year guys, not a lot of returning guys, so that’s what we sort of expected…
“We knew we were going to be in tough, at the same time I think the guys learned that in tournaments like this … you have to keep working and deal with it as it comes. If you start taking penalties and get frustrated, it’s going to be a long year.”
The Peewee A Mustangs fared much better than their midget brethren at the Seafair tourney.
The peewee squad, also playing in Tier 2, bounced back from an early loss to win four straight and take gold on Monday.
They beat South Delta Storm from Delta, B.C. 7-4 to win the tournament.
“Their play on the ice was excellent and their professionalism off the ice – everyone did well on and off the ice,” said head coach Kirk Gale. “It was great to have them done there for the first tournament of the year. It was a lot of fun and the kids enjoyed it.”
See www.yukon-news.com for coverage of the Peewee A Mustangs’ win at Seafair.
Contact Tom Patrick at