The 2012 Rendezvous Hockey Tournament’s largest division had the closest final on Sunday at Takhini Arena in Whitehorse.
Pelly Crossing’s Selkirk Bears snagged their first-ever tournament title, with a 4-3 shootout win over the Dawson City Aces in the Division B finals.
“It was an intense game, but it worked out in the end for us,” said Bears captain Kevin McGinty. “We’ve been at this Rendezvous tournament for a while, came close, but couldn’t pull it through. Today we finally pulled it through.
“This is the first (tournament) win Pelly Selkirk has won in hockey. We’ve been going to native tournaments for 15 years. We’ve been coming in third, fourth, but today we finally got over the hump.”
Scoring the game-winner for the Bears in the shootout was Dan Cletheroe with a little deke-left-go-right move to open the net. Bears goalie Richard Simms stopped all three shootout attempts by the Aces to secure the win.
“He’s been playing really well, but he really stood out today,” said McGinty of Simms. “He really showed up for the game today.”
The win was a come-from-behind effort, with the Bears down 3-1 partway through the second of two periods. Goals from Gary Matheson and Dave Ricard, burying a slapshot from the blue line, evened the score. Scoring the Bears’ first goal was Darcy Carlick while Chris Vance had two assists.
“Hard work, young legs,” said McGinty, explaining the comeback. “The last three games, I think, we came back from behind.
“It’s our never-quit attitude, I guess.”
“Both teams played hard, but in the end their shootout was a little bit better than ours,” said Aces captain Nathan Dewell. “A couple of bad bounces got us in trouble, same with penalties.”
Actually, both teams had penalty troubles, often resulting from hot tempers and some shoving between points. A total of 24 penalties were called in the game, split evenly between the two teams.
“The refs were definitely letting us know they weren’t taking any guff,” said Dewell. “They called it the same both ways, so I can’t complain about that.”
Scoring for the Aces was Ryan Paoloni and Steve Lazlo with two goals. Dewell assisted all three of his team’s goals.
“Our big scorer in the tournament was Steve Lazlo,” said Dewell. “He really helped us out. He got some clutch goals.”
The Bears advanced to the final with a 4-2, semifinal win over the G-Pud All Stars and the Aces advanced with a 7-4 win over the Haines Junction Huskies in the other semi.
Dawson takes women’s division
Dawson had never sent a women’s team to compete at the Rendezvous Hockey Tournament before this year, but expect them to be back next year.
In their first tournament, the Dawson Women defeated Whitehorse’s Wild Things 7-2 in the final of the women’s division.
“The majority of the players are from Dawson,” said Dawson captain Ann Morrison. “A lot of them are beginners. This is their very first tournament. This is the first time Dawson has had a traveling team.
“I had a vision in November after playing the Whitehorse jamboree and I went back to Dawson and got some girls together. We have 20 girls coming out on Thursday nights and we made it happen.
“This was our first time playing on any other ice than Dawson’s natural ice,” she added.
Helping launch Dawson to champion status was Laura Grieve with five goals. The other goals came from Natasha Dunmall and JoAnne Anderson, who also got two assists.
“She’s just a swan on the ice,” said Morrison of Grieve. “She’s a beautiful skater and she’s lovely to play with.”
Wild Things, a team assembled for the tournament with players from the Women’s Hockey League, went into the final as the favourite. The squad was undefeated before the final, beating Dawson 4-2 to start the tournament.
“They just came out wanting it more,” said Wild Things’ Megan Moore, who scored her team’s first goal. “They came out hard and strong and just caught us on our heels, and that was it from there. We didn’t pick it up the way we needed to.
“They played a hard game so they deserved it.”
“We just started to gel,” said Morrison. “The first game is always hard in a tournament because you don’t know everybody, you don’t know the ice. But when it came to the final, we had our lines set and we were ready to play. We wanted it.”
Losing in the two semifinals were the very Canadian sounding squads The Eh Team and Puckin’ Eh, the latter losing 4-1 to Dawson.
“It was the Dawson Women energy that made this happen,” said Morrison. “And Dawson City that made this happen. We had a lot of support from the rec board and the women of Dawson are awesome.”
Undefeated Igloo team wins A division
Igloo Building Supplies looked to be on the brink of blowing a three-goal lead in the A division final on Sunday.
After dropping a 3-0 lead in the second of two periods, the Igloo squad scored three more late-period goals to take a 6-3 win over Yukon Brewing.
Igloo went undefeated in the tournament, the only blemish a 6-6 tie with Yukon Brewing in its first game on Friday. The Igloo team dropped a 3-0 lead in the tie as well.
“It was a little bit more important. Guys are playing a little bit harder Ã Sunday hockey is a little bit harder,” said Igloo captain Clayton Thomas. “There was solid goaltending at both ends. But there was puck-pressure - a lot more forechecking, a lot more back-checking and a lot better hockey in today’s game.
“We didn’t take our foot off the gas today, but on Friday we thought it was over right away.”
Slow starts troubled Yukon Brewing throughout the tournament.
“We’ve been doing that all weekend long,” said Yukon Brewing’s Terrence Tait. “On Friday we did it twice against Igloo as well.
“It just seems to be we come out with our B and end with our A game.
“The team was just a little too much. Igloo has a lot of good hockey players and they fought hard as well. That’s just the way it turned out.”
Igloo’s win was a real team effort with six players contributing. Finding the back of the Brewing net were Scott MacDonald, Chris Thomas, Derek Johnstone, Travis Stewart, Dan Johnson and Clint Teichrobe. Teichrobe also had two assists.
Scoring for Brewing was Jared Buchfo with two and Derek Klassen unassisted.
Tytus Hardy was in net for Igloo.
“He’s been having a shaky season, but he pulled it together,” said Thomas.
Igloo reached the final with a close 4-3 win over the Cinderwood Midget Mustangs in the semifinal. Yukon Brewing entered the final after blanking Murphy Built 5-0.
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