The Whitehorse Peewee Mustangs turned a few heads during their final round-robin game at the Whitehorse Minor Hockey Championships last weekend when they started the third period without a goalie.
Down 5-2 versus DGC Welding, the Mustang’s number one-goalie Joshua Wanless couldn’t play the final period because of concussion symptoms.
Coaches Mike Cozens and Jake Jirousek, knowing they didn’t have enough time to dress anyone else as goalie, decided to go with six skaters.
“We told the players they couldn’t let them shoot,” Cozens said.
“That means two guys on the puck all the time, going hard. The fans had no idea what was going on, thinking we’d pulled our goalie already.
“Our players were relentless – blocking shots, getting sticks on the puck. They were great.”
The Mustangs ended up scoring four goals and allowing none to beat the Welders 6-5 and book a spot in the final.
Cozens said it was one of the most exciting periods of hockey he’d ever seen.
On Sunday, the Mustangs beat Castle Rock 5-3 to come out on top in the bantam division.
Landon Marsh, Ashton Underhill and Errol Ekholm took care of the scoring for the Mustangs, who beat a significantly bigger and faster team.
Wanless returned to the Mustangs net for the final and backstopped his team against a relentless attack.
“When push came to shove in the last few minutes of the game he came up big,” Cozens said.
Cozens explained his team’s success by saying the players have really bought into a team mentality.
“Jake is the one who really studies the game,” he said.
“We’re not a team that relies on any one player. We can lose a really good player and because of the way we play, it won’t affect us dramatically.”
That’s exactly what happened last weekend, as one of the Mustangs’s top defencemen was in British Columbia to participate in a spring tournament.
“We have a lot of time working with these guys and they really buy into the system. It’s a real team effort,” Cozens added.
In the peewee division, BMO topped P&M Recycling 6-3 in the final.
Johnny Timmons lead the way offensively with a goal and an assist for BMO while Huss Breithaupt had a goal and an assist for P&M.
BMO coach Derek Johnstone said it was a busy week for his team but they played well. His players exploded for four goals in the third period against P&M.
“We had three strong lines but the other teams really developed well this year so it made for a good end-of-season,” he said.
Johnstone said there was a good mix of ‘05 and ‘06 players on his team this year, which made it easier to balance his lines.
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