Creston bantam Chiefs win East Kootenay banner

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The Creston bantam Chiefs

The Creston bantam Chiefs

The Creston Chiefs capped a tremendous season by capturing the East Kootenay Minor Hockey Association bantam B banner in season-ending tournament action in Kimberley on March 6.

The Chiefs faced off against their hometown rivals, the Creston Cougars, in the first game Saturday. Because only three teams qualified for the banner tournament, the winner of this game was guaranteed a ticket to the final. A close checking affair was blown open by three late first-period goals by the Chiefs. The Chiefs added three more before the final buzzer, winning 6-0. Curtis Luke was solid in goal, recording a well earned shutout.

Creston had a scheduled game against the Kimberley hosts late Saturday night. Deciding to play a conservative style to save their energy for the Sunday final, the Chiefs came up on the short end of a 6-2 decision. Darrell Blackmore sniped both Creston goals.

In the Sunday final, the Chiefs faced a determined Kimberley squad. Playing before their home fans, Kimberley stormed out to a 2-0 lead. Creston regrouped and Riley Wickhorst wristed in a goal from the slot before the end of the first period to close the score to 2-1. After motivational speeches from the coaching staff during the first intermission, the Chiefs roared out and score two unanswered goals from Josh Samuels and Darrel Blackmore to take a 3-2 lead. Kimberley rallied to tie the score at 3-3 late in the second.

On the ensuing faceoff, Josh Samuels outraced two defensemen in a tremendous burst of speed before chipping it over the netminder. Creston held on to its lead in the third with solid team defence and strong goaltending from Luke. To the roars of the many Creston fans who journeyed to Kimberley to support the Creston squad, Samuels fired in two empty net goals and the banner was clinched with a final score of 6-3. Coaching staff praised the discipline and work ethic of the Chiefs and the vocal support of their fans. It was a fitting end to a great year of hockey.

Also playing for the banner in Kimberley was the midget team. The weekend got off to a good start with a win on Friday night. Unfortunately, this was followed by a couple of losses on Saturday, which put them out of contention for the banner. The team had a great time playing together all season and sends out thanks to the manager and coaching staff.

Creston Valley’s up-and-coming hockey players, the junior and senior novices, were on an international road trip this weekend. They both travelled to Spokane, Wash., to take part in the Young Americans tournament.  The junior novice team had a great time and played in four games. The senior novices also participated in four games and won two. Some of the players who stood out this weekend on the senior novice team are Carter Pelly, Tyson Hann, Josh Jellis and Jeramie Ducharme.

The peewee reps were also away in the U.S., where they wrapped up their season in Missoula, Mont. They won their fourth tournament of the season, going undefeated in all five games. In the semifinal game, they beat the Bozeman, Mont., team 2-1 which brought them into the final. To win the tournament they had to beat the home team, and beat them they did, with a final score of 4-1. It’s nice to see Canadians go south of the border and show them how the game is played.

All in all, the peewee rep team had a very successful season, recording 41 wins, with only 10 losses and one tie. They finished second in playoffs and zones, losing only to Elk Valley.  The coaches were very proud of the team and honoured to be part of such a great group of kids, full of determination and dedication to the game.