Whitehorse Daily Star

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A WILD WIN – The Yukon Wild U18 team display their gold medals at the Burnaby Remembrance Day tourney. The tour- ney took place Nov. 11-13.

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Photo by Photo Submitted

COOL ‘KILLER’ AWARD – The ‘Killer Game’ award was given to the unsung hero of each Wild game. A variety of Wild players captured the prestigious award.

Yukon Wild capture gold at Burnaby Remembrance Day tourney

The Yukon Wild U18 team travelled to the Burnaby Remembrance day tournament this past weekend (Nov. 11-13) and again walked in not really knowing what to expect.

By Freelancer on November 20, 2023

The Yukon Wild U18 team travelled to the Burnaby Remembrance day tournament this past weekend (Nov. 11-13) and again walked in not really knowing what to expect.

As seems to be the way we roll, the team went down with only six players the appropriate age. The rest of the group (nine players) were between 13-15 years old. That being said, this group has been doing it for years and have shown time and again that they refuse to back down.

The first game saw the Wild come up against a heavily favoured Langley Lightning squad. This group had only lost twice in the previous couple of seasons. Facing an uphill battle against a team that had a ton of games under their belt, the Wild started slowly. Getting scored on early took the wind out of the team’s sails but they were still only down 2-0 halfway through.

The group battled hard and generated chances, but some strong goaltending led the Lightning to a 5-0 victory.

Evan Cyre had a stellar game and was named the MVP while Brooke Tobler was a water bug on the ice and her efforts earned her the “Killer Game” award given to the unsung hero.

The feeling was that the team hadn‘t played nearly their best game and was looking forward to taking care of business and booking a rematch against Langley in the final.

Game two was against the North Shore team and was a back and forth affair, with the teams trading goals until the Wild pulled away with two goals on route to a 4-2 victory.

Kasey Mckenna was named MVP after putting up 2 goals and 1 assist. Heidi Nash and Maya Bulmer rounded out the scoring. Callie Quaile was the “Killer Game” recipient after absolutely owning the offensive walls and corners, making life miserable for the North Shore squad.

The third tilt was against Kelowna, and the team built on its previous success, continuing to grow game upon game. Attacking in layers and playing perfect team defence the girls dispatched Kelowna handily, 5-0, with Madison Parsons putting up the shutout.

Sofia Jan-Asp was the MVP for her clutch goal late in the second, turning a slightly scary 1-0 lead into a more comfortable 2-0 margin. The “Killer Game” award went to Teja Lalonde, who had a goal and an assist and helped the team get out of the zone with some smart wall play and determined efforts.

This left the team in a position where they controlled their own destiny, exactly where they wanted to be.

After some well-deserved mall time, the team awoke Monday with an opportunity to win a game and set up a rematch with Langley, who remained undefeated.

Facing off against Tri-Cities, the team again played an extremely structured team defence and that,coupled with some timely saves by Kennedy O’Brien, led to the team’s second straight shutout.

Zoey Remo was cool as a cucumber with the puck, making numerous small area plays that led to her being the MVP. Brooke Tobler continued her strong weekend with two goals and one assist. Kasey Mckenna found the back of the net as well and assisted on linemate Sophie Drummonds’ goal.

The Killer Game award went to Maya Bulmer, who not only was bringing the crowd to it’s feet with her end to end antics but also was a force to play against defensively.

That win set up a rematch against the undefeated Langley Lightning.

This was the game the Wild wanted and along the way had accumulated a following from the other teams that wanted to see an upset happen and the Wild claim the title.

Both teams came out strong, exchanging opportunities in the first period, and both goaltenders had to make some solid saves to keep the game locked at 0-0.

Through the second and third, the Wild club drove the play – accumulating a significant amount of zone time – but were unable to solve the Langley goalie. On the defensive side of the puck, the team continued it’s relentless puck pursuit and utilized aggressive pinches with forwards covering to minimize the high-danger chances for their opponent.

The final buzzer sounded, and the team was prepping for overtime, the coaches thinking about lines when it was revealed there was no OT … Straight to the shootout the team went.

The format was three shooters followed by sudden death if tied at that point. Maya Bulmer zoomed in first and after making a nice move put the puck in the back of the net to give the Wild the lead. Langley followed up and goalie Madison Parsons used good positioning to force a puck to ring off the crossbar. Kasey Mckenna was the next shooter and went with her go-to, ripping the puck at the net but the Langley goalie stood her ground and stymied the attempt.

Langleys next shooter outwaited the Wild goaltender and made a move around her, sliding the puck into the net. Callie Quaile was the last Wild shooter looking to play hero. She slowly approached the net, forcing the Langley goalie back in the crease before snapping the puck top corner over the flailing glove of the Langley tender. Down to their last shot, the Langley player approached and made a move that looked like it fooled Parsons, but she managed to get just enough of her stick on the puck to stymie the attempt and it was time for mitts and helmets in the air as the Yukon Wild celebrated the win!

Overall, a great weekend. Every time the group goes through adversity, they have found a way to answer whether it’s older, bigger opponents, injuries and sickness, or just having an off game. Looking back, losing to the Langley team right off the hop may have been a blessing because we knew as a group that first game was in no way our best effort.

Probably the strongest part of the tournament would have to be the team defence. Whenever you go three straight games without getting scored on things are clicking. Starting from the back end with both Kennedy O’Brien and Madison Parsons putting up shutouts, the defence being impossible to beat on the rush and making high IQ plays to get pucks out of our end and finishing with the forwards providing back pressure off the rush and covering our aggressive point pinches, this was a complete team effort.

While we aren’t sure where our next adventure will be, we do have a laundry list of things to take away and begin working on in practice until we roll again.

– Submitted by Wild coach Dan Johnson

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