March 27-30 was an exciting time for the Creston Valley Minor Hockey Association’s midget Chiefs. The team travelled to Cochrane, Alta., and participated in the Yelnats Cup tournament, in which midget teams across Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan celebrate what is the final year of minor hockey for many midget players.
The win ended a successful year for Creston’s midget team, who expressed their appreciation to all the parents for their support and travels, as well as to manager Lawrence Makortoff, head coach Ray Kolodychuk and assistant coaches Chad Luke, Karl Blackmore and Brent Van Ruyskensvelde.
Creston started the tournament on March 27 playing the Devon Drillers. This game was fast paced and exciting to watch. Creston started the scoring early in the first period with Tyler Everitt making the first goal. The second period quickened the heartbeats, with Devon answering back, tying the score 1-1. Creston tightened their laces and answered with four more goals by Carlos Blackmore, Jacob Kolodychuk and Josh Samuels. The Drillers fought and scored one more goal just prior to the end of the second period. The Chiefs finished the third period with four more unanswered goals scored by Makortoff, Zach King, Kolodychuk and Ethan Plotnikoff for a final score of 9-2.
In game 2 on March 28, the Chiefs took on the Vegreville Wranglers. The Wranglers started the scoring 1:13 into the first period, and Alex Blackmore returned the favor just seven seconds later. Michael Makortoff added another for Creston close to the end of the first period. The Wranglers did not leave the first period without showing their strength, scoring again. Creston came back in the second period, with four goals by Makortoff and Kolodychuk (two each). The Wranglers did manage one more goal in the third period, but the Chiefs secured the 8-3 victory, with Kolodychuk and Otto Blackmore scoring in the third.
Game 3 saw the Okotoks Oilers take on the Chiefs. Okotoks showed a strong presence starting the scoring early with a goal. Creston skated hard and scored twice in the first period, with goals made by Plotnikoff, assisted by Eddie Blackmore, King and Talon Maatz. At the start of the second period, Carlos tried to cement the win by scoring, with Otto and Owen Blackmore assisting. Okotoks scored the next goal. Creston’s players worked hard, with Everitt and Alex scoring in the second period. The Oilers attempted to take back the lead, scoring twice in the third. But, the Chiefs remained undefeated, scoring three more times in the third, with goals by Levi Palmer, Zachary Van Ruyskensvelde and Plotnikoff, earning the Chiefs and 8-4 win.
Game 4 was enough to turn anyone grey, truly a nail-biter. Creston took on Okotoks for the second time in the tournament. Okotoks scored the first goal of the game, and Creston’s Eddie Blackmore scored next. Okotoks hammered Creston in the second period, scoring twice, leaving the Creston players questioning whether they would be entering the finals. The third period started with Okotoks trying to keep the lead by scoring their fourth goal of the game. With seven minutes left in the third period and with Creston down by two men, Kolodychuk came out of nowhere to score the comeback goal of the game. Creston quickly evened the score at 4-4 by the end of the third period, with goals by Alex and Kolodychuk. The game went into double overtime before Kolodychuk added a fifth Creston goal.
The fifth and final game of the tournament for the Creston Chiefs was against the Cochrane Rockies, who started the scoring early in the first period. They scored back and forth in the first period, ending with Creston down 3-2, with goals made by Carlos (two) and Samuels. The Chiefs showed their determination to bring home the cup to B.C., with Samuels (hat trick) and Carlos scoring twice in the second period and twice more in the third, making the final score 6-3, allowing Creston to take Alberta’s Yelnats Cup back to B.C. for the year.
—CRESTON VALLEY MINOR HOCKEY ASSOCIATION