The Hazelton Bulldogs peewee tier four hockey team captured the provincial championship title for the first time in Hazelton’s history last week after going undefeated in Fort Nelson.
Winning six straight games is no easy task for any team in any sport, especially for a small-town team from the Hazelton’s, but the Bulldogs had a great season, the drive and talent to bring home the area’s first provincial banner.
Coach Simon Dodd said it was without a doubt, the highlight of his coaching career and attributes the team’s success to hard work, a solid team effort and a key game-winning goal by Ken Tait in the first game of the provincial championships.
“The whole team played so well,” Dodd said.
“Everyone contributed, such as Frazer Dodd who finished with 24 points in six games and Ethan Drew picked up 14 points.
“Yet Tait’s game winning goal, in our first game against Chetwynd, with only four minutes left was a real turn around point for the whole team and we really never looked back.”
Compared to other teams, Hazelton played with a relatively short bench with three defencemen, three forward lines and two goaltenders.
All of which were a part of the team’s success Dodd said.
“Our most improved player, Decland Giguere played extremely well on our first line with Frazer and Ethan,” Dodd explained.
“We had two key goals from Tait, our second line of Paolo Rubinato, Jake Wilson and Dionne Fowler acted as a shut down line and I don’t think they had a goal against them.”
Dodd also praised his third line trio of Anthony Louie, Brendan Starr, and Jaren Jack who also chipped in some key goals.
Defencemen, Joel Patsy, Liam Dodd and Jessie Roth all played well as the Bulldogs had the best goals-against average at the tournament, Dodd said.
“Our goaltender, Jessie Johnson had an excellent final game in goal and throughout the week and when called upon Braydon Mould, our back-up goalie, had a strong game against Whitehorse only allowing two goals,” Dodd added.
Although the Bulldogs went 6-0, four of the six games were won by one goal making for some “really intense and really tight” hockey Dodd said.
For parents such as Kevin Rubinato and fans watching, the week was full of solid hockey and Hazelton left with not only the provincial title but some great memories.
“The whole experience was great but that last game was so tight and gut wrenching as it was such a close game,” Rubinato shared.
“I’m still just glowing, I’m so happy for them, they are provincial champions and no one can take that away from them.”