The Williams Lake Midget Tier 2 Timberwolves will have a kick at a provincial championship later this month.
The team skated to two straight wins over the Prince George Tier 2 Cougars at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex Friday night and Saturday morning to take the best-of-three playdown to earn the berth at provincials, being held March 15-19 in Saanich, and hosted by the Peninsula Eagles.
Friday night, the T-wolves clutched out a nailbiter in a 4-3 shootout victory where Marcus Kennedy found the twine for the game winner.
Saturday, Williams Lake cruised to a 5-1 triumph to sweep the series.
“It was just like playoffs are,” said T-wolves head coach Roy Call. “They’re always harder than you think they’re going to be. We got through, though, and we’re excited to be qualified for provincials.”
Call said the team came out too fired up for its own good Friday, however, settled down Saturday to play a structured, dominant game.
“We’d spent the past two weeks getting the kids relaxed but, they were revved up Friday,” he said. “They worked real hard but we didn’t play the smartest game. They got a couple bounces, we took a couple penalties and we wound up in a shootout. Saturday we were a lot more structured and in better shape.”
Looking ahead to provincials in two weeks in Saanich, Call said everyone feels ready.
“It should be a lot of fun, and I think the tournament is setup well for us,” he said, noting it will be a seven team, six game round robin, followed by a championship final.
“I think for us the more we play the more our talent and structure can come through.”
While the final list of teams has not been finalized, Call said so far West Kelowna, Penticton and Peninsula, as hosts, have qualified.
“West Kelowna and Penticton are both very good teams,” he said. “We’ve seen them both two or three times and we’ve won a game against both. Peninsula, they’re a big, strong team we saw at the Richmond tournament, so we’ve seen pretty much everybody and we’ll be comfortable going in there.”
He said since Christmas time the team has really come together after a slew of injuries plagued the team early on in its season.
“There were guys beat up and tired, but now we’ve got everybody back, our practices are all of a sudden easier, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said, adding the team has picked up 12 wins, one loss and one tie in its last 14 games.
“Practices are fun and everyone’s excited about provincials, they’ve come together as a group, which takes a little while to get there with three years of kids put together but we’ve really seen it here in the last little while.
“They’re blocking shots, doing things the team loves, and you’re seeing that. We’re looking to have a really good week down there.”
With the berth at provincials, the T-wolves join fellow lakecity teams already qualified: the Williams Lake Midget Female Timberwolves (provincials in Richmond), the Williams Lake Bantam Tier 2 Timberwolves (provincials in Williams Lake) and the Williams Lake Peewee Tier 2 Timberwolves (provincials in Penticton).