The Comox Valley PeeWee Panthers won gold at a minor hockey tournament in Gold River.
Despite the quite edgy road conditions everybody made it in time for the first game against Port Hardy. Not only the roads were rough, so was the start of the first game.
Being down 3-0 and 4-1 the team found its stride and came back strong to tie the game 5-5 while pulling the goalie.
Next up was Gold River and a solid effort resulted in a 7-3 win, setting things up for the round robin showdown with Port McNeill. “They dominated both earlier games and listening to their parents chats seemed quite confident to ‘walk all over’ the Comox bunch,” a Panthers’ spokesperson said.
But they were in for a big surprise as they didn’t count into their equation the very solid play of Panthers’ defenders Olivier Laplante, Will Domae-Garbutt, Haley Tufts and Wyatt Mousseau.
With support from the always hard-skating centres Carson Reddin, Merric Holloway and Elijah Cox and the ever-present wingers Allyson Ellis, Sean Mulhall, Dougal Girard-Deidrichs and Jacob Demarco they kept the strong Port McNeill offence in check time and time again and came away with a 3-2 win, finishing the round robin in first place.
The semifinal was a re-match with Port Hardy and this time the Panthers were ready to play and won 5-0. Not surprisingly, Port McNeill won the other semi so the two strongest teams met again in the final.
It was a hard-fought game and Port McNeill scored the first goal and was leading most of the game 1-0. The Panthers kept pushing and pushing and finally equalized early in the third period.
With three minutes left the Panthers scored again to make it 2-1, which which ended up being the final result.
“The celebration around stellar goalkeeper Andrew Munger – who stopped all but three shots in the last three games – was simply priceless!” the Panthers’ spokesperson said.
“It has to be noted that in true spirit of house hockey coaches Francis Laplante and Geoff Garbutt always roll the lines exactly the same way. No matter the score, no matter the fact that the team is one minute away from winning the tournament… every player gets exactly the same time on the ice.”