They may be small, but two Williams Lake novice teams came up big Jan. 26-27 at a recent Clearwater Novice Hockey Tournament.
The two teams of seven- and eight-year-old Williams Lake hockey players finished first and second following the round robin, then met for a gold medal in an all lakecity final.
There, it was the Williams Lake Teal Timberwolves and the Williams Lake Orange Crushers squaring off for the championship. Both teams amassed impressive undefeated records prior to the meeting.
The Teal T-wolves got out to an early lead with Jackson Altwasser, Jacob Hufty (2) and Keria Vermeulen all scoring in the first. Kai Hilton scored two goals in the second with Altwasser adding assists on both goals. Hufty and Altwasser rounded out the scoring and also completed their hat tricks. Final score in the contest was 9-3.
Player of the game went to Williams Lake Teal T-wolves netminder Jaxon Cobb, who head coach Shane Vermeulen said made some big saves in the second half of the game.
“Confidence and team play were big parts of the weekend,” he said. “The defence core of Saidra Aubichon-Archie, Quentin Silver, Rylee Pilkington, Andrew Haseldine and Luke Walsh all deserve credit for the win and need some recognition for their efforts.
“Defence wins championships.”
Orange Crushers coach Ben Pierce said, despite the loss, it was a great tournament for his club, as well. They went undefeated in round robin play with their only loss of the tournament coming to the Teal Timberwolves.
“The kids had a blast,” Pierce said. “Winning three games and getting the trophy was nice, and getting the trophy was pretty special for the kids. That was probably the highlight.”
The Orange Crushers’ path to the final consisted of a 7-4 win in game one over Valemount, a 10-8 come-from-behind win over Kamloops and a 4-2 triumph over Clearwater White.
Meanwhile the Teal T-wolves downed Clearwater White 9-0, with Keira, Hilton (2), Hufty (3) and Altwasser (3) scoring for Williams Lake.
Timberolves’ assistant coach Colby Silver credited the game to the defence.
“The defence kept the puck in the offensive zone for most of the game,” he said.
In game two the T-wolves powered over another Clearwater team, 10-1. Scoring for Williams Lake were Altwasser (3), Hufty (3), Aubichon-Archie, Cobb, Hilton and Keira.
Game three saw Williams Lake beat Kamloops, 10-4. Scoring for the Teal T-wolves were Hufty (2), Altwasser (3), Charlie Beaulne, Keira (2), Hilton.
Player of the game in game three went to Beaulne, who scored her first of the season.
Assistant coach Jason Hufty said it was defence and goaltending that landed his club in the final.
“For sure defence and key saves are contributing to our success,” he said. “The players are having fun and are energized after a hard weekend before this one.”