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Sports archive for February 26, 2014

Bantam A Mustangs impress in pre-provincials tune-up

The young Norcope Bantam A Mustangs hockey team showed they are a team to take seriously in next month’s B.C. Provincial Hockey Championships.

By Marcel Vander Wier on February 26, 2014 at 2:53 pm

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Photo submitted

GOOD SHOW – Norcope Bantam A Mustangs forward Ryan Troke puts a shot on net during an exhibition game against the Chilliwack Bruins Saturday in Chilliwack. The Whitehorse club was in B.C. preparing for provincials. Photo courtesy SUSAN ANDERSON

The young Norcope Bantam A Mustangs hockey team showed they are a team to take seriously in next month’s B.C. Provincial Hockey Championships.

The club finished a weekend exhibition series in Vancouver with a 3-1-1 record against five Tier 2 teams.

The all-around team effort impressed head coach Martin Lawrie.

“We did very well,” he told the Star. “We’re pretty happy with 3-1-1, but the bottom line is we really could have went 5-0. I’m really happy with the results and the quality games.”

Lawrie’s club beat the Cloverdale Colts 3-2, the Chilliwack Bruins 2-1, and Ridge Meadows 6-3. They tied the Squamish Eagles 3-3 and dropped their lone game to the Aldergrove Bruins by a score of 2-1.

The Tier 3 Mustangs set up the tournament as a tune-up for the upcoming provincial tournament.

“We identified where we thought the level of play would be at provincials, and contacted Pacific Coast teams that we thought would be around that area,” Lawrie explained.

This year, the Bantam A Mustangs will attend the provincial tournament rather than the Arctic Winter Games, which are scheduled for the same week. Lawrie believes his team will turn some heads this year in West Kelowna.

“We’ve got a very young club and a very small team, and those are usually tough combinations for bantam teams, but when I see the results and how the guys are playing at this point, I think we’re going to be very competitive at provincials,” he said.

“We know the calibre coming out of the Pacific Coast league, we know the calibre coming out of the Kootenays and Okanagan ... We’re definitely going to be competitive with all those clubs, which is very encouraging for such a young team.”

Bryce Anderson led the team with six goals and three assists in five games, while Gavin Lawrie had two goals and six assists.

Jesse McCuaig (2), Joe Stokes (2), Johnny Elias (2), Riley Smoler, Ryan Troke and Kaine Comin also scored in the five-game series.

Ethan Vanderkley was between the pipes for all five games.

Coach Lawrie said he was especially impressed with the poise of his two second-year blueliners, Smoler and captain Mathew Cooper, and praised his entire group for their speedy play.

This weekend, the club will head back out on the road to play five games against their counterparts in Yellowknife.

Meanwhile in Whitehorse, the Female, Peewee A and Midget A Mustangs will each host four games versus their visiting rivals from the Yellowknife Wolfpack in the inaugural Air North Hockey Challenge.

Dylan Cozens, who was recently ranked second in his age category among western hockey prospects, did not travel to B.C. with the Bantam A Mustangs.

However, he is expected to be in the lineup for the Peewee A Mustangs this weekend.

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