Just two minutes into Game 3, the Bantam A Mustangs looked sunk.
It seemed the third and deciding game was going to be a repeat of Game 2, which Castle Rock won handily 5-2. Castle Rock opened the final game of the season with two quick goals.
Things did not look good for the Mustangs, but looks can be deceiving.
The Mustangs came back to win the game 6-4, to take the best-of-three final, and to capture the Whitehorse Rec Hockey League C division title at the Canada Games Centre on Sunday.
“It was a good weekend. I thought we had a good game on Friday and we won that one in overtime,” said Mustangs head coach Barry Blisner. “On Saturday we didn’t play as well and (Castle Rock) deserved to win.
“Tonight we came out a little flat, they got up 2-0 quick, but I have to say after the 10-minute mark of the first, I thought we played well.
“There’s a lot of smart guys on that team. They’re a little bit older, so we told the guys, ‘You have to keep skating and hopefully youth will win out.’ I think, basically, they kept skating, dumping it in, and we got some good shots on net.”
Tied 4-4 in the second (of the two-period game), the Mustangs took their first lead of the game on a shorthanded goal from forward Riley Smoler, finding the top corner of the Castle Rock net on a wrist shot with 4:09 left in regulation.
Mustangs forward Spencer Lessard tied the game five minutes earlier on a long shot through traffic.
Mustangs co-captain sealed the deal with an empty-netter with 11 seconds left.
“Sometimes we rely on a few guys, but tonight we had a bunch of different guys score, so it was good,” said Blisner. “It was a good way to end it.”
The Mustangs opened the series with a 5-4 overtime win on Friday. Winger Chance Goodman scored the game-winner, his second goal of the night in a four-point performance. Goodman had seven points in the series with two assists on Sunday.
“At the end of the first period we found it for sure,” said Goodman of the team’s chemistry on Sunday. “The second we picked it up even more. I think we started moving our feet more, started working as a team and kept it going.”
Less than two weeks earlier, the Bantam A Mustangs placed fourth in the Tier 3 division of the B.C. Hockey Championships in Dawson Creek.
They lost the bronze medal game 5-4 to Smithers, but still produced the best finish of the four Whitehorse rep teams competing at the B.C. championships.
Does taking the C division title help make up for the loss in the bronze game at the B.C. championships?
“I think so,” said Goodman. “It could be better if we got that bronze too, but it’s hard sometimes.”
Mustangs forward Levi Johnson, who has been a scoring machine for his team all season including in their two tournament wins, finished the series with eight points.
“Momentum: we had it, they had had it, we had it,” said Castle Rock assistant captain David Borud. “The kids skated great. Last night they had a few shifts there where we got a jump on them. Tonight was just back-and-forth hockey.
“We couldn’t have lost to a better bunch of kids. They’re just a great bunch to play against.”
Castle Rock’s Derrick Bilodeau had two goals and an assist on Sunday. He finished the series with eight points to lead his team.
Contact Tom Patrick at