Monday, February 25, 2013

Novice Chinooks triumph over Warner. advance to next round of playoffs

Updated: Pincher Creek's Novice Chinooks moved on to the second round of Spud League Playoffs after a barnburner of a first round against Warner.

Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice 

Pincher Creek's Novice Chinooks faced the Warner Sabres for a best of three Spud League playoff round 1 series. Both teams are 'B' level Novice.

The first game was played in Warner on Thursday, February 21.  In that contest, which sounds like a real barn-burner, the Chinooks were down 3-1...

"They had a rough start, but they pulled together in the third period, said Coach Sean Stuckey after the second game of the season, but about the first.  "They're all trying really hard.  We had a heart to heart in the second period intermission and they came out... we had a few kids that took the lead and started passing the puck, just like today... pulled 'er out.   We were down 3-1 in that first game and came back in the third, and ended up winning it 5-4 in the third."

The second game of the series was played at Pincher Creek's MCC arena on Saturday morning, February 23.  The Pincher Creek crowd was sizeable, Warner brought a lot of fans with them, and the excitement in the stands was electrifying.

Don't tell the other teams I said this, but this turned out to be the most exciting game of the weekend at the home rink. Both teams put in 100% throughout all three periods.  Despite the Chinooks creating a maintaining an early lead, the game could have gone either way for most of it.  Every shift counted.

I got there seven minutes late.  I could hear the crowd outside, even in the howling wind.  And it was a howler that greeted those tough folks from Warner.   I mean that in the nicest way.  Inside, the boys and girls were moving like freshly unbottled bottles of lightning, and I mean both teams, and I mean all the time.

The clock said First Period, 7:09.  Pincher Creek up 2-0.  #17 Koltyn Kipling in the net for the Chinooks, in top form.  Equally formidable, Warner #1 Hunter Douglas behind the big stick in the Sabres net.  A roaring crowd.  A crowd freaking out.   Two young teams rolling and tumbling and playing good go-for-it hockey.  Passing plays, talk about your passing plays.  Going in Pincher Creek was in fifth place in the Spud League regular season final standings (unofficial, but I read it here - link). Warner in 8th.  Both B teams.  Every team above Pincher an A team.

Some of these kids really couldn't skate very well at the beginning of the season. Yet here they were, playing great hockey.

#6 Riley Potts score first for the Chinooks, unassisted.  Potts has been a dynamo in every game he's played.  And he's played a lot of them this season.   Later on in the first he assisted #20 Rhett Fitzpatrick, another top prospect. Warner's #18 Kace "remember that name" Bellew scored close enough to the final buzzer that it had to be measured.  I'm not sure how they measure that.  He was assisted by Griffin McCulloch and Kaleb Routley.

So 2-1 Chinooks, dramatic goal at the buzzer for Sabres.

Some of the best fans in the area, nice enough to even share a side.  Warner fans are LOUD, Pincher Creek.   We gotta up our game.  Ask Jacqui, she knows more about it than I do.

Out they come for the second period, both teams still just hoppin'.  Anybody's game.  An epic period of hockey.  Well done, both teams, coaches, refs, fans, really, everyone was there for hockey.

Back and forth it went, non-stop, no goals.   Potts and  Hunter have very different styles, but they have one thing in common: they can stop that puck.  When they had to.  Both teams beefed up the defence, and one thing much of the scoring had in common throughout the game had more to do with who seized a brief moment of opportunity the quickest than anything else.   When there was scoring.  No goal until the 7:03 mark.  Brilliant saves.  Smart plays.  Quick turnaround time.  With 7:03 left in the period #28 Cory Dyck scored for the Chinooks, 3-1 and he bought them some breathing room.   Until the 2:01 mark, when Kace Bellew scored again for the Sabres.  If you give this guy an opportunity he's going to make the most of it.  Chase Lippa and Tasha Long got the assist on that one, well deserved too.  3-2, the Chinooks ahead by only one point as the period ended.

By the way, Shinoa Jessen was a force to be reckoned with out there for the Chinooks, lemme tellya.  Give this girl a medal, I don't care if she's already got one.

So, third period, do or it's "season's over" for the Sabres.  At 16:18 Riley Potts puts it in for Pincher after deking out the defence and running it to the net, expanding the Chinooks' lead to 4-2, a little more breathing room, and an assist to Cory Dyck.  Dyck made some great attempts in a row that were heartbreakingly close but no-go.  Warner wasn't giving up, not by a long shot. At 12:04 Sabres #12 Deagan Robertson does what he needs to do and puts his team back in contention, with assistance from Christopher Brantner, puck bouncing off the Kipper stick veering high and in, 4-3.  Bye Bye breathing room for Pincher.    At the 10:14 Cory Dyck feeds it to Potts, who puts it in.  5-3 Chinooks.  A hat trick for Potts (spoiler: we're not done with him yet).   At 8:11 nailed in a high-flyer, assisted by Shenoa Jessen, 6-3 Chinooks, and that's where it stood when the final buzzer blew, both teams still flying at the puck.

Sabres, that's a good team you have there.  They ended this season in style.

The Novice 2 Chinooks move on to round 2 of the Spud League playoffs.  Stay tuned.

The Novice Chinooks Tournament is scheduled for the upcoming weekend.  Stay tuned for that too.

Roll the vid.

PS: That was seriously good hockey, Sabres and Chinooks.  Thanks.

The Novice Chinooks play Picture Butte or Bow Island next.  Coach Stuckey expressed confidence in either eventuality.  "They should be good games because we tied those teams all year so..."

"They're a good group of kids.  They're fun to coach.

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