Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for December 6, 2013

Mustangs to host Hockey Day in Whitehorse

The Yukon capital’s rep hockey program will take centre stage during this weekend’s Hockey Day in Whitehorse.

By Marcel Vander Wier on December 6, 2013 at 2:48 pm

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Photo submitted

SILVER – The Peewee B Mustangs celebrate their silver medal in Wetaskiwin, Alta. last weekend. At back, from left are manager Dina Fitzsimmons and coach Ryan Hennings. Standing players from left are: Kyle Bierlmeier, Jakob Ekholm, Kayden King, Hunter Fitzsimmons, Marco Harwood, Adam Hennings, and captain Brandon Petelski. Second from back (kneeling) are: Jesse Goodman, Joshua Kearney, Aidan Adel, and Joseph Coyne. Front row (kneeling): Keegan Bevilacqua, Joshua Zaccarelli, Aimery Barrault, Samantha McLeod, and front and centre is goalie Broden Cull. Photo courtesy JIM PETELSKI

The Yukon capital’s rep hockey program will take centre stage during this weekend’s Hockey Day in Whitehorse.

The Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association is hosting the event which serves as a showcase for the program and also as a fund-raiser for the Mustangs organization.

The Juneau Capitals peewee team and the bantam-level Port Alberni Bulldogs will both be in town as part of the festivities. Each will play a four-game series against the Peewee B Mustangs and Bantam A Mustangs, respectively.

The feature games begin tonight, with Port Alberni squaring off with the Norcope Bantam Mustangs at 6 p.m., followed by the Peewee B Mustangs’ first tilt with the Juneau Capitals at 8:15. Both games, and the majority of the weekend action, will take place at Takhini Arena.

Each of the Mustang teams will be in action this weekend.

The rink will be buzzing with draws, silent auctions, door prizes and a licensed lounge. There is no admission fee for the games, but the hockey association is requesting fans bring a non-perishable item for the food bank.

Local players are anxiously anticipating displaying their talents in front of the home fans this weekend – a rare opportunity for the teams that play the lion’s share of their tournaments Outside.

“I think they’re pretty excited,” said Bantam A Mustangs coach Martin Lawrie.

“These kids get a really unique hockey experience being out of Whitehorse. They travel a whole lot more than most minor hockey kids would travel, which is cool but they very rarely play in front of their moms, dads, friends. So it’s pretty cool. I think they’re pretty excited about it.”

The Bantam A Mustangs will aim to rebound from their tournament in Fort St. John last weekend, where they finished 0-4 at a Tier 2 tournament.

“It was not completely surprising,” Lawrie said of his team’s winless record. “We do it each year that I’ve been coaching ... we take them to a tournament that is significantly above the level they play at.”

The club opened play with three lopsided scorelines, losing 9-1 to the Fort St. John Flyers, 7-1 to the St. Albert Blues and 10-1 to the Peace River Sabres, but bounced back in a final 3-1 loss to South Side AC.

“They didn’t play well,” Lawrie said of his team. “There just wasn’t a lot of compete there. I think they felt overwhelmed.”

The club has been struck by the injury bug, with Riley Smoler, Ethan LaVallee and Dylan Cozens out of the lineup with ailments.

Meanwhile, the Peewee B Mustangs are flying high entering their home series versus the Capitals.

The young club secured a silver medal in their first out-of-town Tier 4 tournament in Wetaskiwin, Alta.

The young club fell 2-0 to Wainwright STS Storage in the gold-medal game after finishing the round robin with a 2-0-1 record, leaving coach Ryan Hennings impressed.

“That was quite a feat for these kids,” Hennings explained. “These kids play in the peewee house league on all different teams, and this team’s been formed for tournaments and exhibition series only.”

Hennings is excited to see what happens this weekend as his club competes with the “increased pressure” of a home crowd.

“This is going to mean a lot to us as a team to showcase that there is a bunch of kids here in Whitehorse minor hockey that are good hockey players and want to improve,” he said.

The Peewee A Mustangs also competed in a tournament late last month in Winfield, B.C., finishing sixth.

The club dropped games to North Okanagan 5-1, Nelson 4-2,  before beating North Vancouver 4-3 to finish third in their pool.

The club dropped the fifth-place game 6-2 to Abbotsford.

The club competed without stars Bryce Anderson and Cozens, who have moved up to the bantam level.

“It was a tournament to see where we stood,” said head coach Kirk Gale. “Our margin for error is drastically reduced.”

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