As any coach will say, a hockey team needs to play hard the full 60 minutes of a game. Anything less, won’t cut it.
That is a lesson that will not soon be forgotten by the Whitehorse peewee Mustangs, coming home winless from the Elk Valley Peewee Tournament last weekend in BC.
In three of their four games, the Mustangs dropped two-goal leads before succumbing to losses against the BC teams.
“We should have beaten those three teams; we had the lead, were outplaying them and then their style of play changed,” said Mustangs coach John Grant. “We certainly competed with these teams and that’s what we’re looking for. We’re confident we’re on the right track.
“We just have to get them to play 60 minutes instead of 40.”
In their opener against Cranbrook, BC, the Mustangs dropped a 6-4 lead, eventually allowing the winning goal with just 13 seconds left in regulation time.
“A little combination of bad luck, a costly give away here and there,” said Grant.
“This is a team we will probably see in the provincial (championship) and the comforting thing is, from a coaching perspective, we know we can beat these guys.”
Scoring a pair of goals was Marcus McLeod, Mustangs’ Player of the Games.
After a less close 8-1 loss to Staffmore Saturday afternoon, the Mustangs suffered another disappointment to Vernon, BC, going up 2-0 and then 3-2 before falling 4-3.
“We pulled our goaltender and that was just exciting,” said Grant. “The kids played the 6-on-5 excellently. We had the puck for the last minute in the Vernon end, but couldn’t seem to put it in.”
Scoring against Vernon for the Mustangs were Dylan McQuaig, Spencer Lessard and Sam Logan, who was named Player of the Game for the Whitehorse team.
Facing off against Crowsnest Pass in their final game, for a third time the Mustangs went up 2-0 early on, followed by three one-goal leads before falling behind and losing 6-5.
“They had all kinds of pressure on them and they couldn’t put the puck in to tie it up,” said Grant.
Mustangs Cole Comin scored twice while teammates Alex Hanson, Bohdi Elias and McQuaig each had a goal and assist.
“Most of these kids are first year – they’ve never played full-contact – so we’re just trying to get them ready for provincials,” said Grant. “They handled themselves well; the physical aspect of the game was excellent. There’s just some fine-tuning we need to do between now and provincials.”
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