The Novice Cougars (Chris) left the comfort of the 306 when they crossed the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border for a tournament in Virden the weekend of Jan 25 and 26, where they brought home a 4th place finish out of 14 teams.
The boys flew out of the gate with an 11-3 win over Elkhorn where they played great on both sides of the puck. Led by “Digger of the Game” recipient. Griffin “Coast to Coast” Eaton, who I’m sure was the top defensemen of the tournament both offensively and defensively.
A shootout challenge followed for any teams in the tourney that wanted to partake, and the tournaments “Team Saskatchewan” Cougars elected to show off the skills of the Fab 4, and Tender “Brickwall” Brown. “Top Cheese”, “The Flash”, “Hands and Hair”, and “Coast to Coast” finished in 2nd.
Leading up to the evening game against a host Virden team Reed “The Rifle” Coffey was listed as questionable to play with an LBI (lower body injury) sustained in a freak hottubbing accident, but just in time for puck drop, he got the medical go ahead, so the complete line up stayed intact.
The boys played a great defensive game and scored on 10 of their many chances, When asked what the key to success was for this game “Top Cheese” didn’t beat around the bush when he told me, “Passing”. The team pulled some new tricks out of their bags when they treated every fan in the rink to a few perfectly executed One Timers, first “Coast to Coast” Eaton slid one over to “Top Cheese” Light , for a goal that was met with gasps and awe from the hockey crazed Virden fans, then minutes later like a carbon copy “Top Cheese” put the puck on a tee for “Hands and Hair” Puskas with the same result. Both these one timers were very Alex Ovechkin-esque. Digger Award went to Reed “The Rifle” Coffey for his gritty play through the pain mentality.
Some downtime followed, so the boys ended day one in Virden celebrating “Brickwall” Brown’s birthday with a team party full of dips, pizza, fried chicken, chips, cupcakes, and of course all the mini sticks they could handle. Mini stick Injuries to “Coast to Coast” Eaton’s nose and “Hands and Hair” Puskas forearm occurred, but didn’t affect their play in the slightest.
Day 2 is where the high-flying Cougars hit a little turbulence. The opening game of Sunday was a 14-5 loss to Russell. The boys played hard but happened to run into some great goaltending, and couldn’t quite get in sync, maybe the jet lag from the travel day prior or a tired bunch from the big birthday bash caught up with them, who knows. Digger Award went to Nik “The Brickwall” Brown who played great despite the outcome.
The final game for the group representing Sask. was in the A-side consulation game where they would take on Grand Plains. Shuffling the lines slightly for the game, saw “Crash the Crease” Knelson defending the blue paint and “The Brickwall” get offensive for a second straight weekend. “Top Cheese” played Lights out and secured himself the “Digger of the Game” Award. The boys fell just short and lost 14-9 to end the tourney in 4th spot.
A special thanks to Leanne “The Waterboy” VanDresser who was tossing out Gatorades like Oprah handing out her favourite things, “AND YOU GET A GATORADE!, AND YOU GET A GATORADE!!!!, and also to the coaches Light, Eaton and Faber, who proved that their exquisite physiques aren’tjust for show, as they lifted players over the boards to and from the ice every 2 minutes for the duration of four games without even breaking a sweat.
As it’s been said, “Before you can really win, you must first learn how to lose.” so the boys can take lessons learned from this 4th place finish, get in a week of practice, and then get back in tourney mode for Moosomin this upcoming weekend.
Good work boys, you’ve made your province proud.