The Atom Jr. Mustangs got a lot of practice killing off penalties over the weekend.
The Whitehorse rep team struggled to stay out of the box, accruing more penalties than any other team, but still managed to take third at the Adam Myers Memorial Tournament in Leduc, Alta.
“They played well. We ran into a lot of penalty trouble this weekend,” said Mustangs assistant coach Pat Brunet. “We hadn’t had trouble with it in the past. We ran into discipline issues and took a lot of penalties and basically that’s what hurt us through the tournament.”
The Mustangs secured third place with a 5-2 win over the Leduc Roughnecks home team in the bronze medal match on Sunday.
Mustangs winger Ty Beacon scored a hat trick and received his team’s Hustler Award.
Leduc and Whitehorse tied 2-2 in their final round-robin game before the battle for bronze. Whitehorse winger Joshua Shenk was given the Hustler Award.
Penalties took a toll on the Mustangs’ performance in the tie game.
“We spent most of the second period in the penalty box,” said Mustangs head coach Clint Mylymok. “The good news is our penalty kill was good. We had too much practice.
“The kids need to learn what’s acceptable in terms getting a penalty, trying to stop a breakaway or a goal. Taking a penalty after the whistle is just useless and we took too many of them.”
The Mustangs began their first road trip of the season with a 3-1 win over the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers to open the tournament on Friday. Mustangs defenceman Dylan Cozens got the Hustler Award.
Whitehorse then lost 10-4 to the Fort St. John Kinsmen Flyers after dropping a 3-1 lead.
The loss was the Mustangs’ second game on Friday after traveling to Leduc the same day, barely making it from the airport in time for the game against the Rangers. Naoise Dempsey showed the most hustle en route to receiving the Hustler Award.
The Kinsmen Flyers went on to take gold in the tournament.
“I thought we played OK; penalties were a big issue this weekend,” said Mylymok. “We don’t mind penalties if they’re team penalties, trying to stop a goal, but some of the kids were more worried about themselves in terms of selfish penalties, retaliatory - just not team penalties.
“They caught up to us in a couple of games.”
The Atom Mustangs now have a gold and bronze to show for the season.
The previous weekend the Mustangs defeated the Wasilla, Alaska’s Mat-Su Eagles 3-2 in the final of the Whitehorse International Atom Hockey Tournament.
The Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association will take up hosting duties again next month for Hockey Day in Whitehorse and Mustangs Night Dec. 6-8.
Four Outside teams are looking to visit Whitehorse to compete against Mustangs teams from peewee to midget.
“It’s been different players stepping up every game,” said Brunet of the season thus far. “We’ve had different forwards scoring for us every game. So it’s been great as a coach not having to rely on two or three players.
“We have three lines of players and every game we have a different line stepping up and making a difference in the game.”
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