In a disappointing finish to the season, the Seawolves lost 11-2 to Vanderhoof on Feb. 25 in the northwest zone finals.
Prince Rupert’s peewee rep team had played quality hockey throughout the weekend, going 3-0 in round-robin play to make it to the finals, but fell behind early in the championship matchup and were unable to dig themselves out of an early deficit.
“We played very undisciplined and it bit us in the butt,” said team coach Jamie Lowe. “But give Vanderhoof credit, they came to work and they beat us fair and square.”
Despite the tournament’s finish, the Seawolves entered the game with momentum after convincingly winning all of their round-robin games. In their first three games, the Seawolves beat Houston 4-2, came back to beat Vanderhoof 5-2 and were dominant in a 14-2 victory over Fraser Lake.
Lowe said over-confidence may have been a factor in the team’s slow start in the finals, as they fell behind less than three minutes into the game. The Seawolves were able to tie the score eight minutes into the period when Kobe Ikari scored of an assist from Logan Hughes and Eric Calder-Morgan.
The tie didn’t last long as Vanderhoof responded with three more goals in the period to extend their lead to 4-1 at the first intermission.
In the second period, the Seawolves began to press the action in Vanderhoof’s zone to generate more scoring opportunities. They created some good chances, but were unable to capitalize and were left vulnerable to Vanderhoof counter attacking. Lowe said the strategy was made necessary by the team’s goal deficit.
“We had to start taking chances,” he said. “That’s the only way to come back when your down. We had to push.”
An inability to score combined with three second period penalties resulted in Vanderhoof adding two more goals to their tally to extend their lead to 6-1.
An early goal in the third period by Josh Leighton gave the Seawolves a brief glimmer of hope, but Vanderhoof struck back quickly, scoring five more goals to put the game out of reach and secure the zone championship banner for the visiting team.
While disappointed in the team’s finish, Lowe said he thought his team had a good season, giving maximum effort and developing their skills along the way.
“It was a good effort and a good group of kids,” he said. “They’ve improved vastly in the sixth months of hard work. I’m happy with the team, and proud of every kid.”