Monday, November 26, 2012

RMAA Renegades dominate Bantam Tournament

Bantam Chinooks vs RMAA Renegades
C. Davis photos and video

Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice

Pincher Creek's Bantam Chinooks hosted a tournament at the Memorial Community Centre Arena last weekend.  6 teams divided into two pools competed, playing a total of three games each. Participating teams included the Pincher Creek Chinooks, the RMAA Renegades, the St. Albert Saints, the Coaldale Cobras, the Okotoks Oilers, and the Irvine Bulldogs.

The tournament was a bit of a washout for our Chinooks, who lost all three of their games.

Chinooks vs Renegades

Chinooks vs Renegades
Things started off encouragingly enough for the Chinooks.  The first game of the tournament was played on Friday evening, November 23.  They faced off against the RMAA Renegades, a Tier 2 team.  Chinooks #11 Jessen Luco scored early with a breakaway goal just over a minute into the game, assisted by #18 Emily Wittkopf. The Renegades evened it up about 4 minutes later after dominating the play in the Chinooks end.  Chinooks goalie #1 Jeremy Kretz was kept busy with a salvo of shots being fired at him nonstop throughout the game.  The Renegades were fast, relentless, they skated very well, and their passing play and puck handling was brilliant.  The Renegades took the lead at the 9:49 mark.  With 3:47 left in the period the Chinooks tied it up 2-2 after a bouncy goal by #9 Nic Jordan.  Jessen Luco got the assist on that play. With 2:08 left in the period the Renegades scored again, bringing the score to 3-2 in their favour.

That was pretty much it for the Chinooks.  The Renegades kept the pressure turned to high throughout the following two periods, hammering the Chinooks net and shutting down every single attempt the Chinooks made at scoring, which were few and far between to begin with.  Despite an impressive estimated average of 75% saves by Kretz, the odds were against him and the score mounted.  At the final buzzer the score was 12-2 for the Renegades.  Jessen Luco was named Player of the Game for the Chinooks.  Mitchell Konschuk was named player of the game for the Renegades after achieving a hat trick and two assists.  Renegades Captain #10 Nick VanBavel also achieved a hat trick in the game.

Chinooks vs Saints
Chinooks vs Saints
On Saturday evening the Chinooks played against the St. Albert Saints.  The Saints were a dominating force out there, taking the game to the Chinooks end and keeping it there for most of it.  #30 Matthew Duncan was minding the Chinooks net, and did an admirable job of it, making some big saves, but the odds were definitely not in his favour.  The Chinooks couldn't get their passing play together, and basically fell apart under the Saints' onslaught.  The final score was 8-1 for the Saints, with the Chinooks lone goal coming from #15 Captain Sam Gerrand in the third period, in a long run down the ice, assisted by #9 Nic Jordan. That one seemed to be the result of sheer determination by the Chinooks' offence to not be shut out.  There were plenty of good tries by the Chinooks, particularly in the third period when they pulled it together a fair bit, but the dots never quite connected.

Chinooks vs Saints

Chinooks vs Bulldogs
Chinooks vs Bulldogs - Consolation Final
On Sunday morning the Chinooks faced the Irvine Bulldogs for the Consolation Final game.  In this one the Chinooks were up against a more familiar opponent, and it was their best showing in the tournament.  The two teams were more evenly matched, and the score remained close for most of the game. It was ties 2-2 at the end of the first period.  The Chinooks were ahead 3-2 for most of the middle of the second period.  Then Irvine tied it up.  Right at the buzzer Irvine scored again, taking the lead 3-2.  Both teams battled hard in the third period.  Irvine scored early, and were answered by two Chinooks goals, tied 5-5 at the 15:19 mark.  Irvine scored twice, then the Chinooks to bring it to 8-6 in Irvine's favour.  At the 1:49 mark Irvine scored again, and the wind went out of the Chinooks sails. Irvine scored once more, right at the final buzzer, to win the game 10-6.  The Chinooks MVP for the game was #15 Captain Sam Gerrand, who scored once unassisted and got two assists, while doing his utmost to make a difference.  Chinooks #19 Ethan Richards got a hat trick in the game as well as an assist after a fiery performance in the third period.  Bulldogs Captain #16 Mackenzie Fritler got the MVP nod for his outstanding effort, after achieving a hat trick and three assists.  Irvine's #20 Joshua Fischhofer also put in a notable effort with one goal and four assists.

The challenge for the Bantam Chinooks now is to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and say "Well, that was that" as they move forward.  They were up against some very intimidating opposition over the course of the tournament, particularly in their first two games, and there were definitely a lot of opportunities to learn a trick or two to carry with them into the rest of their season.

Saints vs Cobras
Semi Finals - Saints vs Cobras

In the semi final game the Coaldale Cobras and the St. Albert Saints were evenly matched throughout, tied or with in a point of each other for most of the game.  The Cobras were ahead 4-5 in the third when the Saints tied it up with only 1:11 left in regular play.  The Cobras managed to score in the first minute of overtime, winning it 6-5.

Saints vs Cobras

Oilers vs Renegades
Final Game - Okotoks Oilers vs RMAA Renegades

The Okotoks Oilers and the RMAA Renegades faced off for the final game, contending for first place in the tournament.  The Oilers put forth a strong effort against the Renegades in a fast-paced low scoring game, but the Renegades managed to hold the score to 4-2 in their favour, winning the tournament.  A great team, and a real joy to watch.

Tournament Champs: RMAA Bantam Renegades
C. Davis photos and video

The Pincher Creek Minor Hockey Association owes a big thank you to all the volunteers who put in so many hours to make an event like this one happen.  Great job, folks!

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