The Bantam Seawolves had a strong showing in the Houston Bantam Hockey Tournament on Oct. 28 and 29, finishing in second place after losing in a penalty shootout to Smithers.
Head coach Bruce Watkinson said he was happy with the team’s play on both the offensive and defensive side of the puck despite the disappointing result.
“I was really impressed with our play all weekend,” he said.
The Seawolves started the tournament with a commanding 11-0 victory over Burns Lake. Aiden Watkinson and Mitch Mann led the attack with two goals apiece while goaltender Brevin Jack recorded the shutout.
“We had a great game,” Watkinson said. “It was a very well rounded, team effort.”
Solid team defense was key to Prince Rupert’s second victory of the tournament, a 2-1 victory against Smithers, which they led from the beginning of the game. Atkinson said puck control was the key to getting goal scoring opportunities.
“I was really happy with the way the defense corps played,” he said. “It made our breakouts much easier.”
The Seawolves finished first place among the five teams competing in the tournament, and cruised through their semi-final game against Fort St. James 9-0 on Oct. 29 to set up the finals against Smithers.
In the final game, Prince Rupert took a 2-1 lead into the third period, and looked good for the victory. However, two minor penalties late in the game gave Smithers the opportunity to tie the game at the end of regulation. The game immediately went to a penalty shootout, which Smithers won scoring one goal while Prince Rupert missed on all three attempts.
The Seawolves will look to get redemption in their next game against Smithers on Nov. 18. Watkinson said the biggest lesson his team can take from the weekend is finding a way to finish and close out games where they have an advantage.
“We have to avoid finding ways to beat ourselves,” he said. “With the untimely penalties, at times we can be our own worst enemies.”