By Jason and Pauline Portras
The Revelstoke Minor Hockey Association hosted seven Novice Division teams in the last of a trio of tourneys played three weekends in a row. However, please note that the Pre-Novice Division will host a mini-tournament on Saturday, January 30.
Once again, this tournament saw 50/50 draws held for each game, a gorgeous CPR print up for grabs, and many other raffle prizes.
The first game for the Revelstoke Icebreakers, in the tournament and in the season, was a brisk 8:00am start on Saturday against the Salmon Arm Bulldogs. Both teams were very evenly matched and it was great to see these young up-and-coming athletes have so much fun while learning the game and pushing themselves to excel at the same time. The First Period ended in a 3-3 tie while the Second ended in a 4-4 tie.
This was a tournament with the unofficial motto of “Have Fun, Win or Lose”. Some of the fun for the spectators was the comedy of watching their kids try to figure out where they should be playing and whether or not their line was out on the ice, but even more so in seeing young gleaming faces getting their turn at the puck. Their rosy cheeks brightened more and more the closer they got to their opponent’s net. Judging by the fun the parents and players were having, hockey still has a good strong future in Revelstoke.
The goalies on both teams were outstanding and made some spectacular saves. It’s amazing how flexible and dextrous these young kids can be. I’d have wrenched something and been out of commission for a week if I’d tried even half of those saves.
In the Third Period, the Bulldogs scored two more goals and shut Revelstoke out. The game ended in a victory for Salmon Arm to the tune of 4-6. The goal scorers for Revelstoke were Cameron Norrie with a hat-trick and Eldyn Pauls with a single. The Bulldogs who scored were Sawyer Mayes with a hat-trick, and Riley Hunter, Traesen Every, and Noah Dollack with one goal each. An interesting rule for Novice Tournaments that promotes fairness is that all players are only allowed three goals each per game, where any further goal scored by those players isn’t counted.
For their second game, Revelstoke was up against the Vernon Thunder Jets at 12:30pm on Saturday. It was a back-and-forth game with great chances and great saves on both sides. Most exciting were the breakaways, of course, and I swear those little legs moved three times as fast when their parent’s gleefully started yelling encouragement to “skate!” It was an electric experience.
At the end of the First Period, the Icebreakers were trailing by a score of 3-0, when young Icebreaker Alex Stevenson smacked a rebound into the back of the Thunder Jets’ net for his first goal … ever. Proud Dad Keith was given the puck as a treasured keepsake. This seemed to breathe fire back into his team as they fought hard in the Second, netting the only goal that period.
Then, Icebreaker Cameron Norrie carried the torch with his spirited skating and shot making, getting his team a couple more goals in the Third. Cameron is definitely one of the most skilled players on the team, literally able to skate circles around his opponents at times. Of course, the Thunder Jets had a very similar player in Morgan Hackman, who often skated past and around his opponents like they were standing still, and he gained a hat-trick for it.
In the end, after a very close game, Revelstoke came away winning only the second game they ever played together as a team by a razor’s edge score of 5-4. On the board for Revelstoke were Alexander Stevenson, Cameron Norrie with a hat-trick, and Rylan Cameron. The Thunder Jets got a goal from Nolan Wilson and three from Morgan Hackman.
On Sunday, the Revelstoke Icebreakers played the final two games of the tournament back-to-back, from 1:45pm to 3:45pm against the North Okanagan White Knights and the North Okanagan Black Knights, respectively. The Novice tournament did not have Semi-Final or Final Games.
The White Knights arrived on the ice having won all of their three previous tournament games handily by scores of 10-1, 16-0, and 6-1. In spite of this, the Icebreakers played very well and were, in fact, much better at keeping their positions.
After the First Period, the hometown team led 2-1, and then increased their lead by 4-2 in the Second. The White Knights had to fight off a penalty in the First, while Revelstoke had to fight off one in the Second. The Third Period saw both teams with another penalty apiece; however, it was the White Knights penalty which seemed to change the game in favour of the Icebreakers, as Revelstoke scored a power play goal to make the score 6-3.
The Icebreakers soon followed that up with two more goals to win the game 8-3. Revelstoke’s goals were scored by Cameron Norrie with another hat-trick, Ethan Kungl with two, and singles from Rylan Cameron, Brodie Bracken, and Eldyn Pauls. The White Knights goal-production team were Cole Ferguson with two and Damon Golz with one.
Revelstoke’s final game, and the last one of the entire tournament, matched them against the North Okanagan Black Knights, certainly another of the better teams of the weekend. Earlier that morning, the Black Knights had trounced their opponents by a very lopsided score of 13-0.
It was clear from the start the North Okanagan team had more developed players than the hometown team, and the scoreboard soon reflected that. The Black Knights led after the First Period 2-0, which then increased to 5-1 after the Second.
The hometown team worked hard to clear the puck, but too often either gave it away in their zone or were simply out-maneuvered. However, considering this was only the fourth game they ever played together, and that they won two of those four, including one of them against a team that was highly favoured by the statistics, it was an outstanding showing for the hometown team. Besides, losing is good. It teaches a team what they need to improve upon, and also illustrates where the other team has exceled.
The final score after the Third Period ended was a well-deserved 7-3 victory for the North Okanagan Black Knights. For the Icebreakers, Cameron Norrie scored two and Eldyn Pauls scored one. The Black Knights who scored were Waylen Stowards with a hat-trick, and Alexander Hart, Douglas-Jeffrey Crowe, Aiden Loewen, and Kade Blair with one apiece.
The Players of the Game were as follows: for the Icebreakers, #10 Noah Kenyon and #18 Leif Neilsen, and for the Black Knights, #10 Colten Davidson and #18 Brayden Rypkema.
The final tournament standings were as follows:
|Salmon Arm Bulldogs||3||1|
|North Okanagan Black Knighgts||3||0||1|
|North Okanagan White Knights||3||1|
|Vernon Thunder Jets||2||2|
|Kamloops Blue Devils||1||3|
|Vernon Green Ninjas||1||3|
|Kamloops Red Bulls||0||4|
Digital downloads of these photos can be purchased and/or shared on social media by visiting www.revelstoke-life-and-times.redframe.com under the ‘Novice Tournament’ tab