The Yukon Strikers U12 boys squad did not make the medal round of the Kelowna Canada Day Tournament hosted by the Rutland Youth Soccer Association in B.C. over the weekend.
But improved play by the territorial representative team throughout the tournament was a feather in their caps worth praising, said Strikers head coach Paul Kishchuk.
“The boys played well,” he said. “It always takes a bit to get settled in. But every half the boys played, they just got better and better.”
The Strikers did not qualify for the tournament playoffs after taking one win and two losses in the round-robin.
Their win came in their final match, defeating the Nelson Youth Selects A squad 3-2.
“That particular game was a bit of a nail-biter,” said Kishchuk.
The Strikers twice overcame a one-goal deficit before striker Wyatt Baldwin left-footed a chip over the head of the Nelson goalkeeper with five minutes left for the winning goal.
Also scoring for the Strikers were mid-fielder Simon Kishchuk to make it 1-1 and fullback Dominic Cheeseman to make it 2-2.
The Yukon squad opened the tournament with a 4-1 loss to the Okanagan-Mission Jade Electric Lighting team. Scoring for the Yukon was Cruz Goodman.
The Strikers then lost 4-1 to the Nelson Youth Selects B squad. Putting the Yukon on the scoreboard was Baldwin.
While at the Kelowna tourney, five Strikers also competed in a “Goalie Wars” competition. Yukon’s Felix Maltais captured gold in the U11 competition and Carl Knickle snagged silver in the U12 event.
Kelowna was the Strikers’ second tournament since the winter season. They competed at an indoor tournament in Edmonton in March, there, too, leaving with a 1-2-0 record.
They plan to attend a tournament in the Lower Mainland B.C. over Thanksgiving.
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