Two players had the weight of the world on their shoulders late in the final of the Yukon Cup in Haines Junction on Jan. 15.
With about five minutes left, and the game tied 4-4, Whitehorse General Enterprises defenceman Kayce Saligo was awarded a penalty shot and a chance to give his team the lead. He did not disappoint.
“Casey managed to squeak one by the goalie (Alix Walchuck), who played tremendous on their side,” said Enterprises coach Pat Tobler. “It just squeaked by. In fact, most of the players and the fans thought that she had it.”
The goal — Saligo’s second of the game — went on to be the game winner as Enterprises defeated Whitehorse Beverages 5-4 in the atom division of the territorial hockey championships.
“The whole team came together for the tournament and we scored a lot of goals that were the result of a team effort — some beautiful passing plays,” said Tobler. “There were a lot of players who really played hard and had a great tournament.”
“In that final game (goalie Cullen Pickett) definitely fended off the enormous pressure from the Whitehorse Beverages team and played an exceptional game,” he added.
Enterprises jumped out to a 3-0 lead earlier in the final on a natural hat trick by centre Robbie Matthews, a player from Teslin who makes the drive to Whitehorse for every game and practice, said Tobler.
Beverages had a hat trick as well in the final, with three goals from Bryn Atudney-Amos and another from William Oestreich.
Enterprises previously lost 5-3 to the bevvy bunch in the round robin.
“We have a pretty good rivalry in that we’re pretty evenly matched,” said Tobler. “Every game we’ve played all season has been a real close game. During the finals we were lucky enough to be on the right side of the scoreboard and pull out the win.”
Enterprises reached the final with a one-goal win over Whitehorse’s Wildstone in the semifinal. Wildstone went on to take the bronze with a 9-1 victory over a mixed Teslin/Watson Lake team.
Whitehorse teams Canadian Tire and Scotiabank placed fifth and sixth, respectively, head of Dawson City and Haines Junction in seventh and eighth.
“I’d like to give a shout out to the Haines Junction community, they organized a tremendous event and I’m sure all the kids had a great time,” said Tobler.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org