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OPEN SPACE – Rivermen player Colby Busche rips a shot on net against the Central Zone Rockets in the semifinal. Photo submitted by LYNN PALFREYMAN

Rivermen place second in Vernon

The Yukon Rivermen returned home from Vernon, B.C. with a second-place tournament finish,

By Dustin Cook on November 30, 2017

The Yukon Rivermen returned home from Vernon, B.C. with a second-place tournament finish, but with a different feeling than their first trip.

The team went down to Edmonton at the beginning of the season and didn’t win any games but were happy they were able to play at a high level.

This time around, going 4-2 overall and losing a close 3-2 gold-medal game, the team was not as jubilant.

“It was a very different feeling, it wasn’t a bunch of kids who were happy to play at this level,” Lawrie said. “They were incredibly disappointed they didn’t win cause they thought they could.”

This is a good sign, said Lawrie, noting he is starting to see a shift in mentality as the team gets ready for their second home series this weekend.

“We keep talking about the process and about the fact it’s about being better than we were before practice and before the weekend started,” he said. “I think we’ve been doing that in all of the competitions we’ve been in at this point. The team has improved and the players feel it.”

In their opening game of the five-team tournament, the Rivermen won 2-1 against the Central Zone Rockets, the same team they lost to 5-0 on their regular-season trip down to B.C. earlier in the month.

Errol Ekholm had the first of the game, with two in the tournament, and defenceman Layton Feist scored the game-winner on the power play.

In their second game Friday afternoon, the Rivermen fell 5-3 to the North Zone Kings, another team they played and went 1-1 against on their past trip to B.C.

It was an undefeated Saturday for the Rivermen beating Pursuit of Hockey Excellence Academy 6-1 and then beating the Mission Stars 3-2.

Heading into the semifinals on Sunday, the Rivermen were once again up against the Rockets, a game that went to a five-person shootout to decide who would advance to the final.

It was a battle of the goaltenders with only one goal scored for either side on 10 shots, with Wyatt Sorken scoring the winner in a 3-2 game.

The shootout victory led to a rematch against the Stars in the final, this time falling in a tight 3-2 game with the Stars scoring the game-winner with about 40 seconds left.

“For a good portion of the game we outplayed them and really I think what it got down to was we got ourselves in some penalty trouble and started running out of gas in the third period,” Lawrie said. “It was a tired hockey team by then for sure.”

Comments (1)

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MARINA on Dec 1, 2017 at 3:06 am

We live in Nova Scotia and I'm impressed and keeping track of my great nephew, Errol Ekholm, he's following in his father's foot steps who was a great hockey player. Go Errol

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