After missing out on a third gold in a row last year, the Tahltan Selects were back on top of the jamboree division at the Yukon Native Hockey Tournament on Sunday.
The northern B.C. team, who won bronze last year, took gold with a 3-1 win over Old Crow’s North Yukon Eagles at Takhini Arena.
“We had really solid goaltending (from John Fallows), for sure, and we worked as a team. Each and every kid, for every second of their shift, went as hard as they could go,” said Selects head coach Corey Higgins. “We came in with a really good game plan and they executed it as best they could.”
The Selects went undefeated at the tournament, but they certainly didn’t dominate. They beat Whitehorse’s Kwanlin Dun Predators 4-2 in the quarterfinal and N.W.T.‘s Tuk Warriors 5-4 in the semifinal.
They trailed for most of the first period of the final following an early goal from Eagles’ Alex Skinner. Selects’ Aaron Chaput scored on a power play late in the first and teammate Keelan Frocklage scored twice in the third for the win.
“They out-skated us fairly well, but once again our goaltender stood up and saved the game for us,” said Higgins. “We just stuck to our game plan and any opportunity that came up we seemed to capitalize on.”
The Eagles beat third place’s Tuk Warriors 8-3 in the semifinal to reach the final. Tuk net minder Kenny Semmier was named Best Goalie for the division.
The Eagles might have missed out on the gold, but three players from team picked up division awards at the end of the night. Kaine Comin took MVP, Skinner Top Scorer and Ben McClelland Best Defence.
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