The Winfield Bruins won the Greater Trail Minor Hockey Association’s Tier 3 Midget tournament with a dramatic 7-6 victory over the Trails West Wolves from Calgary on Sunday at the Cominco Arena.
Winfield limped through the round robin, suffering a 7-2 loss in the opening game Friday to Castlegar, before bouncing back with a 10-5 victory over the Spokane Jr. Chiefs. The Bruins, however, lost its third and final match against Trails West, 5-3, to close out the preliminary round with just one win.
Trail, meanwhile, blitzed the Jr. Chiefs 7-1 in the opening game Friday, before skating to a 2-2 draw against the Wolves, and a 7-0 drubbing of the McKnight Mustangs of Calgary on Saturday.
The Midget Rebels cruised through the tournament with the lopsided win over Winfield, a 6-1 shellacking of McKnight and a 3-0 triumph over Spokane to finish first overall in the round robin, while Trail earned the second seed with a 2-0-1 record, followed by Trails West, 2-0-1, and Winfield, 1-2.
However, in Sunday’s two semifinals, nothing went right for either local teams. The Midget Smoke Eaters fell behind 3-0 to Trails West, and with their goalie pulled, the Smokies scored twice in the final minutes to bring them to within one, only to run out of time and miss a berth to the final.
Castlegar, after a convincing win over the Bruins in the round robin, also found themselves behind the proverbial eight ball in Sunday’s semi. Down 4-0, the Midget Rebels battled back to within one only to fall 4-3.
In an exciting final, the underdog Bruins battled back from a 2-0 deficit early to grind out a 7-6 victory and win gold.
At 10-2-1 Trail sits in top spot in the Okanagan Mainline Hockey Association (OMAHA) Tier 3 Midget league with 8-3-3 Castlegar in second and 4-4-1 Winfield in sixth place.
The Midget Smokies resume OMAHA play on Saturday in Castlegar with the puck drop at 4:15 p.m.