Creston Chiefs place fourth in Castlegar tournament

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The Creston Valley Minor Hockey Association’s peewee Chiefs had a rough go of it this past weekend in the Castlegar tournament. The top three teams besides Creston, Castlegar, Nelson and Whitehorse could be provincial attendees.

In a game against Vernon, the team had a good start, which led to a 5-0 lead after two periods. Vernon would add two goals in the third. Chiefs were by Ty Gudjonson from Shayne Walker, Gudjonson from Kale Plotnikoff and Matthew Hills, Hills unassisted, Davis Nelson unassisted and Plotnikoff from Tyson Steed.

In their next game, the Chiefs lost too many one-on-one battles to Nelson; combined with a slow start, the Chiefs fell behind 2-0 before a late first period goal by Plotnikoff made it 2-1. The Chiefs started to play a little better as the game went on, but had trouble scoring goals. Nelson would add a goal midway in the third period to round out the scoring.

Playing a young Missoula, Mont., team with not much experience on hitting hockey, the Chiefs took care of business and led from the get-go. The leading scorers were Gudjonson with two goals and two assists, Brayden Jellis with a goal and two assists and Logan Rast, also with two assists. The Chiefs beat Missoula 7-1.

Games against Castlegar are always tough, close games, and the Chiefs lost 2-0 in the semifinal. Two bad breaks in this game were the difference. In the first, Castlegar scored a goal on a pass across the crease that went off a Creston defenceman’s skate. Late in the second, a brutal line change by the forwards led to the second goal for the host. The Chiefs had chances but couldn’t find the back of the net; against quality teams they struggle offensively. Making the simple play of getting the puck out of their end and being strong on their sticks led to the Chiefs defending way too much in this game. The coaches said they have to learn to stay in their structure and trust that their teammates will get the job done.

In the third-place game, which they lost 5-0 to Nelson, the Chiefs were defending their zone and losing too many battles for the puck, which was not pretty to watch, and they got hammered in the first half. They were tired, but thankfully have a goalie who kept them from losing by double digits. In the second half of the game, the Chiefs played Nelson to a 0-0 score — so when they put the effort in and work, they can compete with every team. It was a good learning tool for the team, and they also learn life lessons in such defeats.

Overall the Chiefs ended up in fourth where the coaches said they belong according to how they played. Whitehorse eventually beat Castlegar 9-8 in a shootout in the final. The Chiefs are playing zones this upcoming weekend against Cranbrook tier 3.

—CRESTON VALLEY MINOR HOCKEY ASSOCIATION