Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for April 4, 2013

Smith snipes OT winner to lead Yukon to broomball glory

About halfway through the overtime period of the championship game, Capital Towing Jets captain Scott Smith trailed his linemates into the offensive zone and awaited his opportunity.

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CHAMPS – At back from left are John Tom Tom, Chris Bookless, Milford Allain, Scott Smith, Matt Degrace, Karl Sundin, and Craig Mitchell. In front are Vanessa Brault, Darla Klaus, Naomi Smith, Meghann Atina Meadowcroft, Margo Millette, and Julie Robertson (right). Photo Submited OT HERO – Scott Smith’s overtime winner in the championship game was his first goal of the tournament. Star photo by MARCEL VANDER WIER

About halfway through the overtime period of the championship game, Capital Towing Jets captain Scott Smith trailed his linemates into the offensive zone and awaited his opportunity.

His Whitehorse-based team was in the midst of its third marathon game versus the hometown Beluga Lake Bombers at the End of the Road broomball tournament in Homer, Alaska Saturday night.

The game was scoreless, thanks to another stellar performance by both teams’ goaltenders.

But then came Smith’s heroics.

Entering the zone, Jets centre Karl Sundin lived up to his last name and ripped a shot at the net – one that proved too hot for Bombers goalie Chris Gordon to handle.

“It was a real hard shot,” said Smith. “It appeared to stun the goaltender. I was following them in and the rebound came right to me. I hammered it through the crowd and somehow (Gordon) got a leg on it.

“It came right back to me again. I got another shot away and it went up top corner. And that was the end of the story.”

The goal was Smith’s first of the two-day tournament, and it sparked a mass celebration for the only Canadian team in the five-team event.

“It was a lot of fun,” Smith said. “It was excellent action, back and forth.”

Smith said the Whitehorse team gained an edge in overtime thanks to their female goalie – Margo Millette. Thanks to her presence in goal, the Jets were able to put four male players on the ice to battle the hometown Beluga Lake Bombers’ lineup of three men, two women.

“The tournament rules stated two women on the ice at all times,” Smith explained. “All through the tournament we played with three women on the ice (including Millette). But when it came down to the overtime, we went with four guys, two girls.

That seemed to be the magic.

“It was the tail end of a long day,” Smith said of the overtime. “For them, it was their third game in a row, but they still seemed fairly fresh.”

The championship game was the third game between the very evenly-matched clubs over the weekend.

The two teams tied 1-1 in their round-robin bout, and then went into triple overtime in their first playoff matchup, before John Tom Tom buried an overtime winner of his own.

The two goaltenders – the Bombers’ Gordon and Jets’ Millette – won the tournament’s male and female MVP awards.

Millette picked up four shutouts in seven games.

Jets’ player Milford Allain said it was an honour to win the tournament championship for Canada.

“Let me tell you, the Americans weren’t happy,” he said. “Well, they were happy, but they really wanted to win it.”

The tournament included two teams from Homer, and two from Bethel.

The Jets team made the 20-hour drive last Thursday night and managed to adjust to gameplay changes in Homer, including a floating blueline and a larger ball, to win the out-of-town tournament.

Allain also said the speed of the Alaskan teams was better than the Whitehorse players expected.

“Their speed actually cluttered us up quite a bit,” he admitted. “We couldn’t use our techniques as good as we wanted to. But as the tournament went on, we got some momentum going and they slowed down a bit. Then we started to control the play a little better, and that was the key in the final game.”

On Saturday, about 45 players took a break from the hectic game schedule to help create a broomball version of the Harlem Shake – the latest dance craze that went viral in February.

The video is posted on YouTube and can be accessed via http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sg2tmf28I8I.

Smith said each of the Yukon Broomball Association, Driving Force, Capital Towing, and Sport Yukon were strong backers of the local champs.

This weekend, local players will head to Haines Junction for the last broomball tournament of the season.

“It’s four weekends in a row for us,” said Allain. “It’s a lot, but it’s worth it in the end.”

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