Jonny Hooker tries to get the puck to settle down during a breakaway in the third period of the Peewee A championship final against Shoal Lake/Rossburn in the Brandon Tournament of Champions on Sunday. (CHARLES TWEED/BRANDON SUN)
Proud hockey moms line up to get a picture of the Shoal Lake/Rossburn peewee team. The Eagles defeated the 11A Brandon Wheat Kings 2-1 in the Peewee A championship final at Westman Place on Sunday. (CHARLES TWEED/BRANDON SUN)
You couldn’t wipe the grin off Ryden Lanouette’s face after he helped backstop the Shoal Lake/Rossburn Eagles to a 2-1 victory over the 11A Brandon Wheat Kings in the Peewee A final at the Brandon Tournament of Champions at Westman Place on Sunday.
"I’m really happy and excited that we won," the 12-year-old goaltender said. "I thought I played pretty well today, I would have liked to have that goal that got by me, and just about had it, but you can’t stop them all."
There were some anxious moments for the Eagles in the third, when, with just two minutes remaining, Jon Hooker, who scored the Wheaties only goal, broke in on Lanouette all alone.
"It was the same guy that scored their first goal and I thought he was going to go high, but the puck kind of bobbled so I jumped on it and covered it," Lanouette said.
Coached by former Brandon Wheat King Craig Geekie, the Eagles had to fight through some adversity during the tournament after losing a 2-1 contest against Regina in the qualifying round.
"Overall, I’m just really happy and proud of the way our kids played," Geekie said. "It’s a long, tough weekend and it takes a lot out of the kids, but really happy with the result."
Geekie’s son, Noah, led the Eagles attack, scoring the game’s first goal and adding a helper on Mackenzie Belinski’s talley just four minutes later in the first period. Ben Murray had two assists.
For Brandon, Hooker’s marker in the second cut the deficit in half, but the Wheat Kings couldn’t solve Lanouette again to even the contest. Rylan Thiessen had an assist for Brandon.
The game also renewed an old rivalry — city versus country — one every Westman hockey player is familiar with from playing on one side or the other and Geekie said he used it to motivate his group.
"It’s been a rivalry and it’s always going to be a rivalry," Geekie said. "And I’m going to use that as a building block and an energy boost for our team. You want to beat the city kids and vice versa the city kids want to beat the rural kids."
He also had high praise for the Wheat Kings, who as 2001-born players, played and had success against teams that in some cases consisted of players a full year older.
"That group doesn’t ever quit," Geekie said. "They battled hard, they’re well coached and it’s sign of things to come."
In the other Tournament of Champions finals:
• The Souris Elks tripled up on the Prairie Storm to capture the Atom A division. Tyson Kozak saved his best performance of the tournament for when it mattered most, scoring five times to pace the Elks offence. Gage Olson and Taylor Johnson replied for the Storm.
• The Wheaties trounced the Weyburn Wings 9-4 to pick up the hardware in the Atom AA division.
Brandon punched their ticket to the final with a 5-3 win over the Moosomin Ice Badgers on Saturday.
• The Wheat Kings defeated the APHA Rangers 8-2 in Westman Place to win the Peewee AA division of the tournament.
The Wheaties got to the championship after a narrow win over Thunder Bay 3-2 in the semifinal. Calen Addison had a goal and two assists for Brandon to lead the offence, while Patrick Kondratiew and Tate Popple chipped in with singles.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 11, 2013