After steamrolling through one Alberta tournament and a home ice exhibition visit from Williams Lake, the Viking Construction Tier 1 PeeWee Cougars ran into their first adversity of the young season.
The Prince George Minor Hockey Association’s premier 11/12-aged team went to the the Strathcona Fall Brawl tournament held in Wetaskiwin this past weekend. It came out differently than their first Edmonton-area tournament in September which resulted in a sweep to gold while outscoring their combined opponents 39-18.
This Edmonton-area series was different.
The first game of the series caught the Prince George squad off guard. They faced the Martensville Marauders from Saskatchewan and after jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead, a sustained and consistent counterattack wore them down and knocked them off balance. The final score was 9-2 for Martensville.
Later the same day, the Cougars went up against another talented, disciplined prairie team, this time the Glenlake Hawks based in Calgary. The lead changed four times, no team ever gave up the battle, but in the end the Cougars fell 6-5. Parents and coaches on both sides called this a “we’d pay money to watch it” game. Yes it was a loss, but the Cougars players took heart from the results.
It showed the next day when two wins came the Cougars way, taking the Sherwood Park Jets 4-3 in overtime, earning another round of applause from all spectators.
The momentum built when Prince George next faced the Canadian Athletic Club team based in Edmonton and never looked back in a 12-4 victory.
The first two losses cost Prince George a chance to play for a medal, but in their consolation playoff game they finished the tournament strongly, picking up a 10-3 win over the Southwest Edmonton Oil Kings.
“It started slow and got better as we went along,” said Cougars head coach Shawn Gendron. “I think we learned a lot this weekend and started to work better the more we played. I could see them learn new things each and every time we played.”
The two teams that met in the finals of the 10-team tournament ended up being Martensville and Glenlake, and that team that got past the Cougars by a single goal – they ended up winning the Fall Brawl Cup.
The Viking Construction PeeWee Tier 1 Cougars are back on home ice this weekend, playing their Omaha League rivals from Kelowna. Game 1 is 7:45 p.m. at Kin 1 Arena and Game 2 is Sunday at 7:15 a.m. in Kin 3 Arena.