It was a happy new year, indeed, for two Williams Lake hockey players.
Goaltender Tamara William and defenceman Victoria Byer helped the Prince George-based Northern Capitals to the championship at the internationally-renowned Mac’s AAA Midget Hockey Tournament in Calgary Jan. 1 under the bright lights of the Scotiabank Saddledome, the home of the NHL’s Calgary Flames.
The Capitals, who went unbeaten in the tournament, knocked off the Rocky Mountain Raiders of Okotoks, Alta., 5-1 in the final.
The team also posted round robin wins against the Melville Prairie Fire (3-0), the Calgary Fire (1-0), the Kootenay Wild (3-2) and the Vancouver Island Seals (2-1), before shutting out the Fraser Valley Rush in the semifinal, 4-0.
William made 11 saves in the 2-1 win over the Vancouver Island Seals and turned aside 15 shots in the 3-2 win over the Kootenay Wild en route to the championship.
Byer, a third-year assistant captain with the club, did her job on the back end, helping hold the team’s opposition to just four goals throughout the entire tournament.
“It’s something to be so proud of,” Byer said.
“We’ve worked our way to the top and we’ve shown we can beat everybody.”
Playing at the Saddledome was also an experience she’ll never forget, she said.
“It was the best experience. We got there early, sat on the bench and just kind of looked up into the stands and basked in the moment.”
The Capitals won the BC Hockey Female Midget AAA league title last year and are second this season with a 15-4-2 record, two points behind the Greater Vancouver Comets.
Byer said the team is coming together in ways she hasn’t seen in her three-year tenure with the club.
“We all came together as a team really well,” she said. “It was nice to see how much we’ve improved and how much more confident we are. As an assistant captain it was nice to see.”
Meanwhile, the B.C. Major Midget League’s Cariboo Cougars — featuring Williams Lake’s Colton Thomas, Trey Thomas, Chase Dubois and Daine Dubois — fell just short of repeating as tournament champions.
Their tournament ended in the same way it started with a 5-2 loss to the Lloydminster Bobcats in the semifinal.
Following game one the Cougars defeated the Yorkton Rawtec Maulers 4-2, the Foothills CFR Chemical Bisons 5-3, the Ontario Avalanche 5-1 and the SSAC Boston Pizza Athletics, 5-2 in the quarterfinal.
In the tournament Chase notched six goals and an assist, Daine posted four assists, Colton had an assist and Trey tallied two goals and four assists.
The Cougars next action is scheduled for Jan. 9-10 in Prince George against the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs.
So far through the regular season the Cougars have posted 17 wins, six losses and three ties and are tied for the top spot in the BCMMHL with the Valley West Hawks.