Even after getting bumped up a level, the Whitehorse Atom Development Team was more than the competition could handle in Alberta over the weekend,
The Whitehorse team went undefeated to win gold at the 26th annual North Edmonton Zone Eagles Spring Tournament.
“We go to Alberta and try to figure out where we are in different tiers,” said Whitehorse coach Derek Johnstone.
“We’re maybe a little bit stronger than what we thought we are and played very well.”
The Whitehorse atoms entered the tournament’s Tier 3 division. But following a 15-0 blowout over North Edmonton Eagles, tournament organizers decided to move Whitehorse up to Tier 2 – the tournament’s highest.
It made for a busy schedule. Whitehorse didn’t get to keep the points from their first win and had to play a make-up game. They went on to win four more in a span of about 24 hours.
Whitehorse opened their Tier 2 run with a 10-1 win over another Edmonton Eagles team. Seth Sheardown-Waugh and Jonny Timmons each registered a hat trick with an assist.
The Whitehorse squad then topped two Fort McMurray Bulldogs teams in succession. They won 6-2 over the first one as Jase Johnstone, Taylor Bierlmeier and Luke Cozens each contributed a goal and assist.
Whitehorse beat the other Bulldogs team 8-1 for a spot in the final. Bierlmeier and Cozens both had three-point games with a goal each.
In a rematch against the Tier 2 Eagles, Whitehorse claimed gold with an 8-2 win.
“Our team just gelled. We kept rolling three lines, six defence, and I think they found it hard to play against us because we were pretty quick,” said Johnstone. “It was good to see an atom development team to show like that.”
Whitehorse goalies Fynn Ritchie and Ben Power shared net-minder duties in Edmonton.
In their first tournament of the year the Whitehorse development team was squeezed out of a playoff spot through a goal differential. In their second outing they won silver out of 16 teams at the Squamish Atom Family Day Tournament in B.C. in February.
“Our coaching staff was extremely proud of this group of kids, as we came close in earlier tournaments this year,” said Derek. “We learned from those performances and came every week ready to practice, learn and continue to improve. We never once let up this year, one main goal was to continue to peak towards the end of the year, finally getting the opportunity to feel success in this tournament. Every player has realized how to play as a team, and not one thought about themselves first. It makes you feel good as a coach when the team can learn and grow into something they have strived for all year.”
Contact Tom Patrick at