Few goals this week have been as costly as one scored against Yukon’s bantam male hockey team on Wednesday at the 2016 Arctic Winter Games.
A second-period goal by Nunavut became the game-winner in a 3-2 loss for Yukon in the bantam male tournament being played at the satellite venue of Iqaluit, Nunavut.
With the loss, Yukon placed fifth out of five teams and did not advance into Thursday’s semifinals.
“We ran into some stiff competition, for sure. The other teams were definitely geared and ready to play,” said Yukon coach Tim Ekholm. “We had a pretty disappointing loss this morning. It was a 3-2 loss to Nunavut, which (a win) would have put us through to the top four to get into the crossovers.
“We had a couple goals called back – there’s some excitement for you. One was legitimate and one they called it interference. They called it a goaltender interference penalty and we lost that goal, which would have been a tying goal.”
Nunavut was Yukon’s best chance to post a win and reach the playoffs. Yukon opened with a 14-1 loss to Team N.W.T. on Monday, with a goal from Jesse Goodman assisted by Mathew Tremblay.
Yukon then lost 11-0 to Team Alberta North on Tuesday.
Following the loss to Nunavut, Yukon fell 8-0 to Alaska later in the day to officially eliminate Yukon from the medal rounds.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Goodman. “I met new people, played a lot of great hockey.”
“I’m a little disappointed. We played a good game against Nunavut, a tough game, we just had some unlucky calls, bad bounces, stuff like that. But all and all, it was a lot of fun. I wish we could play more.”
Yukon’s Joseph Coyne scored Yukon’s two goals against Nunavut, both unassisted.
“I thought we played good in our games. We’re not used to contact and the other teams were, so I thought they had a little advantage,” said Coyne. “I thought we could have played a little harder.”
Yukon’s bantam talent was split up between the Arctic Games and the B.C. Hockey Championships that start this Sunday. Players from the Yukon Mustangs rep team weren’t able to play for the territory at Arctics.
“We took all uncarded players,” said Ekholm. “None of the players going to B.C. provincials were allowed to participate.”
Nunavut went on to lose 6-0 to N.W.T. in the semifinal Thursday and will play Alaska for the bronze in the evening.
Results from the gold medal game between Alberta North and N.W.T. and the bronze game between Alaska and Nunavut were not available by press time.
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