I don??t remember the last time we had a midget level tournament in town?, noted excited spectator Suzanne Boudreau. ?Brian never played midgets, he only played for the ICEMEN, so it had to be a long time ago?. The TR CUPE Midgets hosted 5 teams at their annual tournament on February 11/12. Teams came from Chetwynd, Quesnel, two from Ft St John, and Grande Prairie.
Saturday morning at 8 am they faced off against the Ft St John Royal Bank team. Jordan Stanek, wearing Davey Keon?s old number 14, broke down the ice 7 minutes into the game, and with a Stanekian-like effort, rifled a shot that rippled the net behind the startled goaltender. Ft St John fought back with a pair until team captain Justin McQueen made it 2-2. With 30 seconds to go, FSJ potted another one for a 3-2 lead. ?Those goals in the last minute of play drive me crazy?, accounted one of the tournament Directors Al Kangas. FSJ got stronger in the second and scored 4 goals. McQueen notched his second to make it 7-3 after two. In the third, FSJ got 2 more, but Jordan Pittman scored twice and Justin Kruse added a single for a 9-6 finish. Talking to the parents, coaches, and players, there was much disappointment over the TR team?s play.
The tournament continued with Chetwynd thumping Grande Prairie 10-1, then FSJ Canadian Tire beating Quesnel 9-2. Chetwynd continued their dominance in the 2 pm game with a 15-1 drubbing of the FSJ Royal bank team. FSJ Canadian Tire beat Grande Prairie 10-6. The lopsided scores continued as the day wrapped up with Quesnel laying an 8-1 beating on our boys. ?The last time I saw this many lopsided scores was when the Washington Capitals entered the NHL in 1974/75?, commented trainer Sye Hayden. ?Yes?, added tournament co-director Dawn Pouliot. ?They only recorded eight wins in their inaugural season. Conversely, the Habs had a season where they lost only eight games in the same decade?, provided the volunteer hockey pundit.
Sunday morning came even earlier than Saturday?s, as the 6:30 am start yielded another loss for the TR Boys to the team from Grande Prairie. ?We need to pull ourselves together and play as a team?, commented hard-nosed forward Jordan Pittman. ?These are team losses. We have weaknesses, but we also have strengths. We can play way better than what we showed the crowd this weekend. United we stand, divided we fall?.
That is so true. You can see the best team in this tournament is the Chetwynd entry. It is apparent when their defenseman has the puck, and he skates out from behind the net.
He?ll have a number of options: carry it, move it to the left or right-winger, or hit the centreman in the middle. His teammates are spread all over the ice; it is easy to move the puck. When our defenseman comes out around the net, it seems he has four guys standing still at the top of the circles. You have to pass on the fly and give the play some momentum.
Chetwynd beat Quesnel in the second game on Sunday, in another romp. For the playoff wrap up, FSJ Royal Bank beat FSJ Canadian Tire for third place, and Chetwynd completed their dominance of the tournament with an 8-2 win over Grande Prairie.
So it wraps up that the Tumbler Ridge Midgets went 0 for 3 with a minus in goals for/against. But, one big positive for the team was the team picked up the $200 award for the most sportsmanlike team, sponsored by J8 Holdings and Grizzly Ridge Sand and Gravel. ?That is the 4th time this year that they won that award in a tournament?, noted hockey mom volunteer Cheryl Hayden. And that is true. Out of the six games I refereed, the TR team was the most respectful and disciplined group. In the Chetwynd/Quesnel game, Larry and I had 8 or 9 guys in the box at one point. And in the words of Howie Meeker ?That?s just not hockey?.
Girls getting better in Hythe
On that same Sunday, the girls took a day trip to Hythe to play another team from Beaverlodge. The fast-improving girls played a good first period, but fell behind to a Beaverlodge squad with a lot of legs 4-1 at the buzzer. Danielle Golob scored for us. Sharla Martin played a great game between the pipes, making the first save on just about every shot she faced. The Beaverlodge girls just kept on coming and coasted to an easy victory. Shana Fallon pushed the puck past a defender at the blue line and outskated her all the way down the ice to add another tally for our side, but it wasn?t enough. ?We skated hard in the first and we had a game. Then we stopped in the second and they took advantage of that?, noted coach Scott Trim. ?Still, we had fun.? Kara Trim and Kelsey Legault played their best games of the season so far.