The Whitehorse Canucks weren’t expected to win the Yukon Novice Hockey Championships in Dawson City on Sunday. Far from it.
Even while leading in the final, one could still consider the team an underdog.
The Canucks, who have struggled for wins in the Whitehorse house league, lost their one goalie to injury during the final.
But even with a far less experienced goalie between the pipes, the Canucks held on to defeat the Whitehorse Senators 7-5 for the title.
“The tournament was such a maturing, lifelong memory for them,” said Canucks coach Guy Gorrell. “It was really good for the kids. The kids are pumped and they’ll probably play with a lot more fight in their stomachs when they’re back in town, now that they’ve beat these teams in the tournament multiple times.”
The Canucks lost goalie Orlina Menard to injury midway through the second of two periods.
Filling in was Rocky Nordvie, who had barely ever played in net before.
“I think his mom said he went in to net once about three years ago … it would have been when he was a tyke,” said Gorrell. “He did really well.”
“We were upside-down when we lost Orlina because she’s a fantastic goalie,” he added. “She was the reason why we were in the spot we were. We did have Rocky step in and make the offer, even though he never really played goal.
“(Menard) a fantastic little goalie.”
Scoring for the Canucks in the final was Nolan Matthews with four goals and an assist. Also contributing were teammates Rogan Parry, Chelsi Gorrell and Tanner Gorrell, who also had an assist. Jacob Nichol had two assists.
Ty Beacon and Brayden Gleason-Frost each had two goals for the Senators. Marko Cooper had a goal and an assist.
“Our kids have been strong. We just keep telling them to have fun and play hard and take the losses in stride,” said Guy.
“Even the other coaches came up after the game and said, ‘That was your tournament, your kids deserve it.’ In town, sometimes we get beat pretty bad. The kids get discouraged and we just have to keep them positive.”
The Canucks advanced to the final with a 3-2 win over the Whitehorse Canadiens, who took the bronze with the loss.
Tanner Gorrell got the game-winner, while Matthews and Cam Lindstrom also scored.
Canadiens’ Zeb Blower scored both of his team’s goals.
The Whitehorse Jets placed fourth ahead of the Dawson City Miners in fifth and the Dawson City AIR in sixth.
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