After a disappointing 4-2 loss to N.W.T. to open the Arctic Winter Games, Team Yukon was firing on all pistons in a 6-0 win over Nunavut in midget hockey Tuesday at Takhini Arena.
Don’t say: It’s only Nunavut!
Nunavut’s bantam boys team won the silver at the 2010 Arctic Games and 11 of the 17 players on this year’s midget team were on that squad. The Nunavut midgets also defeated Alaska 5-4 on Monday.
“It was a situation where our guys got our A-game going, got some speed to the outside and we buried our chances,” said Yukon head coach Jay Glass.
“Our defence did a good job at keeping them at bay so they were shooting from the outside. Of course Nigel (Sinclair-Eckert) was solid in net.
“When you get a combination like that, you’re usually going to be successful.”
It was a real team effort, exemplified by the fact 11 of the Yukon’s 15 players (excluding the two goalies) got a goal or assist. In fact, only forward Tyrell Hope had multiple points, with the first goal and two assists.
“The first game we were a bit nervous, but this game we were able to come out strong and had the jitters out,” said Yukon captain Mike Hare. “Everyone was feeling pretty happy with it and playing well, so everyone was able to help in a way.”
The other goal scorers were Tyler Wiens, Hare, Cole Morris, Tyson Glass and Brad Koprowsky.
Yukon goalie Nigel Sinclair-Eckert, playing his first game of the Arctics, got the shutout.
“It boosts our confidence and Nigel’s confidence, so it’s definitely a good way to move forward with a shutout under his belt,” said Hare.
So any line can score, but which is sent out on the power play? Answer: whichever’s turn it is.
“We didn’t prove it in Game 1, but we have a really balanced attack,” said Glass. “My power play is whichever line is next. That’s how solid our line-up is. We have three lines, they can all score, they can all defend. It is the most balanced lineup I’ve ever had the privilege to coach. Our depth is a strength for us.”
In its loss to N.W.T. in the Yukon’s Games opener on Monday, N.W.T. scored the winning goal with exactly a minute left and then got the insurance goal with an empty-netter. Scoring for the Yukon were Wiens and Brayden Kulych.
“We were nervous playing the first game at home, first game of the Arctics, and there was a lot of pent-up emotion,” said Glass. “The other factor is N.W.T. is a very, very good hockey team.”
“They beat us, but we’re definitely looking forward to getting the chance to play them again and show what we can actually do against them,” added Hare.
The Yukon is now 1-1-0 at the Games, not counting its game against Alaska on Wednesday morning. Results were not available at press time.
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