As a rep team, the peewee Mustangs play up an age division in the Whitehorse bantam house league, which often means they have smaller players on the ice. This can cause problems, but not necessarily in the way one might expect.
“The peewee Mustangs know that they can come into bantam house games, and since they are smaller, generally speaking, the referees let them hit our guys,” said EBA Engineering co-head coach Tim Turner-Davis. “The problem is our kids know they’re bigger and could injure these kids, so we tell them to back off and not to retaliate. So when we see refs just letting it go and the coaches encouraging the hitting, our guys aren’t expecting body checks. And yet they’re being tossed around by these peewee kids that, apparently, are being told to ‘go get ‘em.’
“It seems like it’s not honouring the house league system and we take exception to that.”
Despite some rough play from the Mustangs team, EBA came out on top with an 8-4 win over the rep team in a make-up game Monday at the Canada Games Centre.
One particular point of contention for the EBA team was when player Mike Arnold was brought down by a slash from Mustang Marcus McLeod on a breakaway. Arnold scored on the ensuing penalty shot to make it 8-2 in the third, but according to EBA co-head coach Bud Arnold, he was still feeling the affects of the slash after the game.
“We tell them not to go out and hurt these guys, meanwhile Mike is in (the locker room) limping around,” said Arnold. “He got slashed on that breakaway – chopped in the leg viciously.
“He’s alright; he can still walk. He took a lot harder shots than that down south, but he didn’t need that today.”
However, the Mustangs had their own bone to pick, with accusations of cherry picking being tossed around on the Mustangs bench – especially in the second, when EBA scored twice on breakaways.
“The second was not good for us,” said Mustangs head coach Shawn McLeod. “We weren’t skating, we were fancy with the puck in our own end and we didn’t pick up the cherry-pickers.”
For the EBA coaches, what looked like “cherry picking” to the Mustangs was more about players saving energy and good passes from their defencemen.
“Our guys were getting a little tired, were hanging around centre ice and would get the puck and scored,” said Arnold. “They weren’t skating back all the way, so they got more opportunities.”
“If our defencemen are able to get the puck up to the floating forwards, we’re not going to discourage them,” added Turner-Davis. “We only had three guys on the bench, mean while they have 15 skaters.”
Before scoring on his penalty shot, Arnold had already racked up two assists and four goals, including a natural hat trick in the second. Also scoring for EBA were Daniel Bunn, Madrick Perreault and Seamus Bearisto.
For the Mustangs, Dylan Mcquaig had a three-point night with two goals, while Caleb Marsh and Alex Hanson also scored.
“The first period we didn’t play well at all; Devon (Troke), our goalie, really kept us in,” said McLeod. “He was definitely the difference maker there. It should have been twice that score by the end of the first.
“We got away from our game plan. Our game plan has always been dump-and-chase and hard work, not fancy stuff in the neutral zone at our own blue line. That’s a good way to get in trouble.”
The peewee Mustangs will be playing a tournament in Fernie, BC, this weekend.
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