Team Yukon head coach Jay Glass didn’t want his team to come up short in front of the home crowd on Sunday, but he also didn’t want to blow away the competition. He wanted something that would build both confidence and character as his team prepares for the Canada Winter Games this month in Halifax.
Well, he got it.
Up against a visiting Kelowna midget team, the Pursuit of Excellence, Yukon’s boys’ team overcame two scoreboard deficits on their way to a 5-4 overtime win at the Canada Games Centre.
“I think it was a good confidence builder for us, the way it turned out,” said Glass. “We couldn’t ask for a better ending. We were down more than once.
“I like the way our guys played and the way they dug in. They didn’t give up and that’s the most important thing.”
After a goal to tie the game, with 43 left in the third, by Yukon’s Matt McCarthy, who was named the team captain by coaching staff this week, Yukon won it on a goal from winger Kyle Lowes.
On a breakaway, Lowes was brought down from behind but still managed to finesse the puck in with just one hand on his stick.
“Kyle is what we call a grinder - a physical player, a power forward,” said Glass. “He’s been in a little bit of a slump lately - he has the tendency to take bad penalties - and we’ve talked to him about it, trying to get him focused on playing hockey. He has quite a bit of talent when he puts his mind to it.
“He was having a good game, that’s why I put him out there in overtime. I couldn’t be happier that he’s the guy that scored that goal because that could set him up on a nice tear here.”
Down 2-0 after the first period, Yukon came storming back in the second, taking a 3-2 lead on a pair of goals from Tyrell Hope and one from Scott Peterson.
“It’s always a game of momentum and we just took some momentum,” said Glass.
Sunday’s encounter with Pursuit of Excellence represented the last competitive game as a team the Yukon squad will face before heading to the Canada Games in Halifax.
“We wanted to do well in front of the crowd and we really wanted to keep the game close,” said Glass. “When it was 2-0 early, we thought it wouldn’t be very good for us to get blown out - let it get away from us.”
Team Yukon’s boys won silver in the AA division silver flight of the 30th annual Richmond International Midget Hockey Tournament at the start of the year.
Whitehorse’s midget Mustangs rep team played a three-game series with Pursuit of Excellence over the week. The Mustangs took two of the games, winning 5-2 and 2-1 in a double-header on Friday.
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