?We won it last year, so we have to go defend our title?, announced Tumbler Ridge Avalanche Trucking Oldtimers Captain Larry Urness. So we rounded up enough troops to participate in the Chetwynd Silvertips tourney March 25 and 26.
The first game pitted us against the Moberly Lakers. Sloppy goals were plentiful on both sides as the teams traded markers. Points leader Peter Thomas had 2 goals, as the Trimster added a single. The Lakers were up 5-3 with less than 3 minutes to go in the period, when someone in the drive through ordered a comeback with cheese. With 2:36 to go, Thomas banked one off the goalie from behind the net. Scott Trim fired home a rebound with 42 seconds left to tie the game at 5. Then with 33 seconds left in the period, Brian Wylie tapped in the goal to win the period 6-5. ?The boys never gave up, you got to give them credit?, noted shell-shocked rookie goaltender Dave Taylor. ?They put 5 by me my son and we still win the period. Good thing a couple of their shots hit me?.
The second period was much tighter. Special guest oldtimer Phil Dufresne released one of his patented snap shots, from centre ice no less, and beat the goaltender cleanly. ?A shot on net is never a bad play?, commented the oldtimer wannabe. The Lakers tied it on a screen shot from the point with 3:42 to go. And that was that, as the Av?s took a 7-6 victory into the dressing room.
Game 2 was a 9-0 laugher over the host Silvertips. Big Dave Taylor posted his first shutout since the mid 80s. ?I told Big Dave that all we need is one goal to win?, noted the offensive defenseman Urness. ?So I went out and got that first one, and coasted the rest of the way?. Brian Wylie had 4 goals that game. Newcomer Dylan Nichol got an assist when his hard shot from the slot was redirected past the goalie.
The third game was a must win for the defending champ Av?s, as the Moberly Lakers took all 10 points in their game. The opposition was the third club from Chetwynd, the ?RV Champs?. In fact, of the 4 Oldtimer and 4 Recreation teams playing, Tumbler Ridge was the only out of town entry. Totally offensive recruit Brian Boudreau finally shook off his tournament jitters and found the back of the net twice for a 2-0 lead. Slick defenseman Dennis Campbell added another, and then Wylie scored for a solid 4-0 lead. ?You need a bit of a bulge in these games?, commented an Avalanche player. ?Remember we had the Prospectors down 3-0 in our tournament, and they came back to win 7-4. We don?t have Golob or Collison this time, so it is unlikely we are going to blow it. But it is easier with a padded lead?.
The RVers broke Dave?s shutout streak to make the score 4-1 after one. ?Cheesy wrap around?, scoffed the wall from the Rock. We finally won a shootout when Big Train Dufresne wafted in and simply drilled a bullet past the goalie?s glove. Dennis displayed a ?Campbellian? like effort to add another goal to our total. Taylor closed the door and tossed the key to secure the 2 points for the shootout.
The third period saw hard-nosed centre Dean Turner go down with a shoulder injury. Thomas moved back on defense while Dufresne went up forward. With 7:37 to go, the biggest shot faker in the league Sean O?Reilly faked a shot and slid a pass over to his defense partner Thomas. With Wylie and Campbell screening the goalie, the puck slid easily into the back of the net.
Then the Lakers came back to tie the game. It was a 3 on 2 with O?Reilly and me back. As the forwards crossed the blueline, for some reason, O?Reilly charges the guy with the puck on my side of the ice. The forward simply passes it over to his two now wide-open teammates, O?Reilly takes me right out of the play, and they drill the puck through Dave for a goal. So Dave and I said ?What are you doin??? We still don?t know.
With the face off in our end and 8 seconds on the clock, the Chetwynd team decides to pull their goalie to see if they can score and steal a point for the period. The puck bounced around the circle when Thomas picks up the puck. He gets to centre and sees a wide-open Boudreau waiting at the blueline. He headmans the puck, and Boudreau casually skates in and scores on the lone defenseman trying to play goal in the crease. ?I was using Pete as a decoy, because I faked a pass and shot it?, noted the excited and capricious Boudreau as he completed the hat trick with 6 tenths of a second left on the clock.
The Oldtimers get their first tournament win of the season, and retain their championship title in the Silvertips tournament, once again bringing home the victory mugs. ?That was fun?, concluded lanky forward Scott Trim.