Last weekend the Kitimat Bantam Rep Winterhawks made the long journey to Salmon Arm.
The team was down to just nine skaters and one goalie, but it didn’t deter them. They came out strong against Revelstoke scoring on the first two shifts and powered their way to an 11-1 win.
The second game saw the team run into a hot Windermere goalie, but the battle was ultimately won by an equally hot Kitimat keeper, in a 3-0 shut out.
The third game was a hard hitting battle against Prince George. Prince George tried to wear down Kitimat’s defensemen with some big hits but Kitimat responded with many of their own. Down 2-0 after the first period, Kitimat regrouped and came out guns blazing and took the game with a 5-2 victory.
The semi-final saw the team take on the host Salmon Arm, which was a step behind Kitimat the whole time. Another strong second period propelled the team to a 5-1 win and a spot in the final against the undefeated Castlegar team.
The first period was very even going back and forth in a 0-0 tie.
The second period saw some huge hits all over the ice as both teams cranked up the physical play. Kitimat pushed the pace and gained and upper hand resulting in a 1-0 lead. The second period ended with Kitimat executing a perfect set face off and gaining a 2-0 lead. The third period saw Castlegar come out strong and Kitimat tried to keep the lead at home. A packed arena saw the lead hold to the 11 minute mark when one of Kitimat’s three defensemen was ejected for a hard hit. The final ten minutes was an all out frantic attack that saw Castlegar not only score on the power play, but carry on their momentum and tie the game with five minutes to go.
Kitimat then caught a break when a player was hauled down on a breakaway and a penalty shot was awarded.
While Kitimat would miss the penalty shot, the delay was crucial as it allowed the remaining players to rest. On the drop of the puck, Kitimat seized their opportunity and scored with three minutes to go.
After some amazing goaltending, blocked shots and great defensive play the team took first place with a 3-2 win.
Head coach Tim Minaker was impressed how his team was able to play with great discipline. They were the least penalized team in the tournament, while still being able to bring strong physical play when needed.
Assistant coach Gary Lindsay added there were no passengers in this one, every player made a huge contribution.