Warriors win Super League championship
Clearwater Midget Rec Warriors won the Thompson-Caribou Super League playoff championship during a game against Logan Lake on Saturday, Mar. 2.
It was a very close game, according to coach Tim Walker.
“Every player ... put their hearts in to this game and pulled together as a team,” the coach said. “In the dressing room afterwards the kids said, ‘This was the best game we’ve ever played in.’”
Logan Lake scored early in the game.
“You could see the nerves on our team, causing them to grip the stick tight and freeze up,” Walker said. “Lack of full back-checking was the main cause of that goal.”
Then Levi Walker set up a nice pass to Brycen Chambers, who buried a solid goal to tie the game 1 – 1.
The game remained tied late into the third period. At the midway point of the third, Jared Walker took a penalty and Logan Lake went on its power play. The Warriors defended well and ended up with a good opportunity when play was whistled down in their own end. With five seconds left on the penalty, all they had to do was win the draw and chip the puck up to Walker, who would be coming out of the box.
“Coaches yelled at the players to clue them into this,” said Walker. “Nathan Weninger won the draw and Alasdair Allchin chipped the puck as instructed up the boards to Jared. It was perfect. Jared is one of our best goal scorers and we were seeing what was almost a sure goal unfold. As the penalty expired he opened the gate to dart into the play, yet to our dismay his equipment got caught on the door latch and was held immobile (like in a bad dream) unable to step on the ice as the puck slid by him and the Logan Lake players caught up. It was a lost opportunity!”
With three minutes to play in the third period the Warriors were gaining momentum and pressing hard. Levi Walker got the puck down low in Logan Lake’s end, cut hard to the net beating their defence. The goalie slid quickly to the left in order to compensate. This gave Levi an opportunity to fake left and take the puck to the right, which he did.
The puck came across the crease in front of an open net, but Levi’s feet were tied up and he fell. Yet as he fell was still able to bury the puck in the net and give Clearwater a 2 – 1 lead.
The Warriors held onto that lead for the remaining minutes. The entire team gave 100 per cent to maintain puck possession. Logan Lake pulled its goalie, but the Warriors kept chewing up the clock and taking empty net shots. The clock expired and Clearwater won.
“I felt our team dominated the play more than they did,” said the Clearwater coach. “However, credit goes to them for a very good defensive performance. The few chances we did get were very brief and their goalie made some phenomenal saves (particularly on our “Sedin twins,” Brycen and Braeden Chambers) to keep the game tied at one for the majority of the game.”
Logan Lake also produced some effective offence. Clearwater’s senior goalie Karter Romeo played a phenomenal game and made several key saves.
Before the playoffs began, the Warriors were undefeated in regular league play, except for two losses to Logan Lake, which finished first in the league.
Clearwater’s Midget Rec team next heads to Penticton for the OMAHA (Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association) district playoffs, in which the top four teams from each district will compete. The tournament will be held Mar. 9 – 10.