HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
Ever since NWT started sending boys’ hockey teams to the Canada Winter Games, they finished last. Now it’s the Yukon’s turn.
Despite achieving a historic win during the tournament this week in Halifax, becoming the first territorial hockey team – boys’ or girls’- to defeat a provincial team in Games’ history, Yukon’s boys suffered a 3-2 loss against NWT on Thursday pushing them into 12th.
“Today we had our chances and we just came up short,” said Yukon head coach Jay Glass. “We had good goaltending, we had a good effort from all the players, we had some opportunities around the net that didn’t go in – we hit a post in the third period. Our power play was a little disorganized, but I think our guys are tired and nervous.
“At the end of the day they were disappointed, and we’re happy they’re disappointed because it shows they care.”
NWT, who before this year had never won a game at the Canada Games, ended up taking in two en route to an 11th place finish, also defeating the Yukon 7-1 on Monday.
“The first game (against NWT) was just a lack of effort – we just weren’t there,” said Yukon captain Matt McCarthy. “This one we were there mentally, but the effort was 80-90 (per cent) and that’s why we couldn’t pull off the win.”
In Thursday’s narrow loss, the Yukon let go two one-goal leads before a lone third-period goal gave NWT their first lead of the game.
Yukon took a 1-0 lead midway through the first, with Scott Peterson whacking in a bouncing rebound on blue ice. Taking the original shot was Trevor Whynot.
Earlier in the game Yukon’s Riley Pettitt took a hit to the head, missing the rest of the period after twice falling to the ice one his way to the bench. (No penalty was called for the hit.) However, after an inspection by a physician, he was given the OK to return, assisting in Yukon’s second goal to start the second period, going up 2-1. Scoring the goal was forward Tyrell Hope.
On Wednesday the Yukon suffered a 7-1 loss to Newfoundland, the very team they made history by defeating 2-1 on Sunday. Scoring the Yukon’s lone goal was McCarthy, assisted by Charles Dagostin and Mike Arnold.
“It was a 7-1 loss, but I don’t know if the score was real indicative of our play,” said Glass. “We closed the gap on the shots – 34-24 – but we didn’t bury chances and they did, and we lost some momentum. It’s hard to battle back against these teams, they’re good teams. They are drawing from 500,000 plus and we come from a group of 25,000. For us to beat teams like that, everything has got to go our way.
“We beat them once and that’s an accomplishment.”
In the 2-1 win over Newfoundland, Yukon’s goalie Nigel Sinclair-Eckert made an amazing 53 saves in what he considered the best game of his life. Scoring for the Yukon were Cole Morris and Tyson Glass.
The Yukon squad started the Games with a 10-1 loss to PEI last Saturday. Scoring for the lone goal was Hope, assisted by Chris Anderson, cutting in front of the net and burying a backhand in the second period to make it 3-1.
“The reason why no team from the Yukon has won two games here is because it’s really difficult,” said coach Glass. “The guys came a long way and drawing a team from such a small population base, in most cases, showed up fairly well.”
“It was great to get the win against Newfoundland, but I think we could have done much better,” said McCarthy. “We should have won at least two, if not three.”
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