Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Strathmore Storm takes Gold at Midget Huskies tournament

Joey Jackson and Chris Davis photos and videos

Joey Jackson and Chris Davis

Pincher Creek's Midget Huskies hosted their annual tournament last weekend, on January 9, 10 and 11.  Five teams participated, with the Huskies ultimately losing 2-1 to Strathmore's Storm in the gold medal game.  The tournament wasn't what a lot of people were expecting.  The latter half of the event devolved into what some members of the home crowd called "a gongshow".  Multiple serious injuries, many minor injuries, rowdy spectators, and a dramatic forfeiture by the Wheatland Thrashers contributed to that definition.

Huskies vs Hanna Colts

Things began normally enough, with the first game of the tournament pitting the Huskies against Hanna's Colts.  The Huskies hit new heights of excellence in this game, goals and near misses coming from great passing play after great passing play, with some brilliant examples of reacting instinctively to the moment as well. Ethan Richards of the Huskies scored first quarter-way through the first, assisted by Levi Anderson.  Hanna's Nate Baumel answered that shortly after, assisted by William Hoover and Tanner White.  1-1 and it was looking like the Huskies were in for a real challenge, a rarity this season. Craig Marshall scored two more for the Huskies before the period's end, unanswered by Hanna, with assists going to Anderson, Chase Snider, and Tyson Goodreau.  It started to get a bit chippy as the period played out.  

Announcer extraordinaire Lewis Anderson
3-1 going into the second, and getting chippier, but Hanna was proving to be no pushover, Colt Shane Olesen in particular proving to be fairly formidable in net.  He stopped a lot of shots as the play began to concentrate around his crease.  Despite many tries, particularly by the Huskies, the score remained unchanged until the halfway point of the period when  Hanna's Tanner White scored, unassisted, to bring the score to 3-2.  That turned out to be the Colts' last goal of the game.  The Huskies pulled out all the stops.  Goals from Huskies Jesson Luco and Derek Tarcon pushed the score to 5-2 Huskies, with assists coming from Marc Sciarra, Ethan Richards, and Austin Kristjanson.  Huskies goalie Jeremy Kretz was left to watch the game from a distance for much of the time.   Colts Captain Bret Christianson sustained a serious injury with only 20 seconds remaining in the period, ending the game for him.

The Huskies were in top form for the final period, which was punctuated by a lot of thumping.  Brandt Sabo scored at the 14:31 mark, assisted by Chaz Vance.  6-2 Huskies.  Then Jesson Luco scored his second goal of the game, assisted by Chase Snider.  7-2.  To cap it off, Luco earned a hat trick with 3:01 remaining for a final score of 8-2 Huskies.  Shane Olesen (Colts) and Levi Anderson (Huskies) were named Players of the Game.

East Wheatland Thrashers vs Stettler Storm

Game two pitted the East Wheatland Thrashers (Strathmore area) against Stettler's Storm.  The Thrashers made short work of the Storm, winning 8-3.

Strathmore Storm vs Hanna Colts

Saturday morning began with this game between the Strathmore Storm and Hanna's Colts. which the Storm won 6-3.

Pincher Creek Huskies vs Stettler Storm

The Huskies totally dominated this game, winning it 11-1.  Hat trick for Craig Marshall.  A ton of penalties for the Storm, didn't help them any.  Enough said about this one.

Hanna Colts vs Wheatland Thrashers

Missed most of it, sorry.  Thrashers won. Turned out to be a moot game anyway.

Stettler Storm vs Strathmore Storm

Missed this one too.  Strathmore won, earning a spot in the Gold medal game.

Pincher Creek Huskies vs East Wheatland Thrashers

The East Wheatland Thrashers showed up for the tournament with new looking retro jerseys, no recorded history as a team, and a hard-hitting approach.  This game against the Huskies was engaging at the start, as the Thrashers were the first hard competition the Huskies have really faced so far this season. The first 10 minutes of each period seemed to be going as expected in a contest of this sort,  but after a few bad penalties the Thrashers made it clear they weren't here to be friendly. A total of 5 players were ejected from the game and the ambulance had to be called after a Thrashers player deliberately injured Huskies #19 Tyson Goodreau with a hard knee-on-knee hit, leading to a huge uproar which eventually ended with the Thrashers forfeiting the game after Huskies' defenceman Levi Anderson delivered the biggest check of the year, which knocked both teams into a frenzy. It took at least half an hour to sort it all out.  By the time the dust settled Coach Kent Goodreau was able to keep his team under control in a very trying situation, and the Trashers left the game and the tournament, protesting all the way.

That's how Saturday ended, on a definite low note.  Sunday's schedule had to be reorganized a little, but the show must go on, and so it did.

Bronze Game
Hanna Colts vs Stettler Storm

Hanna's Colts played the Stettler Storm for the Bronze on Sunday.  Stettler had an amazing comeback to win 4-3, being down 3-1 and scoring 3 goals win it in the last four minutes of the game. Exciting stuff.

Gold Game 
Pincher Creek Huskies vs Strathmore Storm

The Huskies dropped their first game of the tournament and of the season against Strathmore, losing 2-1 in a very physical game. 

The Huskies bench was missing several key players.  Jesson Luco, Levi Anderson, Tyson Goodreau, Kieran Douglas and Craig Marshall were all sidelined with injuries or suspensions, and each of them are usually big goal scorers for their team. Levi Anderson, who was sitting out with a 1 game suspension, said he was disappointed and that he was “going crazy sitting up in the stands and not helping his team”. Strathmore's Reilly Bahan scored early in the first period at the 19:05 mark, assisted by Brandon Pederson and Robbie Heckle.  Bahan also scored the second goal of the game, at the 13:22 mark of the second period, this time assisted by Grady White.  The penalties started to pile up in the second, particularly for Strathmore.  Marc Sciarra scored for the Huskies with 1:30 left in the period, assisted by Chaz Vance.  That was to be the last goal of the game.  Brandt Sabo really shone for the Huskies in this game, rising to the challenge of a depleted roster. 

The last period was another rough one.  The Huskies came very close to changing the outcome but were ultimately unsuccessful.  The chippy tournament wrapped up with even more bad blood between these two teams after a Strathmore player hit Huskies #9 Nic Jordan while he was returning to the bench after the tough loss, sparking even more challenges between players that could have easily erupted into a bench brawl.  More penalties, two for the Huskies and one for the Storm, with 00:00 on the clock.  In total the Huskies served 28 penalty minutes, including an unsportsmanlike for Austin Kristjanson.  The Storm racked up 44 minutes in penalty time, including a Misconduct and an Unsportsmanlike. 10 minutes each for those, to Davis MacNeill and Kyle Foster.  

Gold for the Storm.

Aftermath/going forward for the Huskies

The Huskies lost for the first time this season, by one point.  The lost game doesn't count toward their regular season Spud League standings.  There's good news and bad news on the injury front.  Jesson Luco is day-to-day with a neck injury, but it's hoped he will be back when they're scheduled to play Kainai on next Friday, January 16 at the MCC arena. Assistant Captain Craig Marshall is out with a minor concussion and is questionable for Friday, and Tyson Goodreau’s season is put on hold as his leg injury may need a while to heal. 

The Huskies have three regular season games left, including Friday's home game against Kainai.  On Friday, February 6 they travel to Warner.  They defeated Warner by huge margins twice this season at home, but won their last game at the Warner rink by only one point, 2-1.  After that they finish the regular season with a home game against Picture Butte on Friday, February 20, beginning at 8:00 pm.  They've already defeated Picture Butte 3 times, each time by a huge margin.

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