The Bantam A2 Chiefs battled hard all weekend long and finished first in the 2013 South Okanagan Minor Hockey tournament. With victories over Semiahmoo, Castlegar, and Spokane in the round robin, the Chiefs clinched first place in their pool and gained a berth in the finals on Sunday. The successful weekend was capped off with a hard fought, 4-2 victory over the host South Okanagan in the gold medal game.
The road to the final, however, posed challenges for the Chiefs in both skill and mental toughness. Two of the round robin games were lop-sided victories for the boys, and the coaches were proud of their players for how they kept their composure and showed respect to their opponents even during the final minutes of the game. Head Coach Chris Bond reflected on his team’s ability to stay focused throughout the blow-out victories. “When the score becomes so one sided, it’s easy to develop bad habits. However the team handled themselves very well and I’m quite proud with how they were able to deal with those kind of situations.”
The toughest test of the tournament- maybe even the season so far- was the Saturday morning game against the highly regarded Castlegar Rebels. Coming off a first place finish in the Penticton Minor Hockey Tournament two weeks previous, the Chiefs knew that they had their work cut out for them. After two solid periods, the Chiefs and Rebels entered the third period in a 2-2 deadlock. However in the end, the Chiefs proved too much for the Rebels as they finally broke the deadlock with five minutes remaining to win the game. Assistant Coach Steve Rickards described the game as a “character win” for the team.
Going into the finals, the scouting report for the South Okanagan team was they were big, tough, and willing to throw the body. The game plan was for the Chiefs to showcase their superior speed and wear the host team down- a plan that was executed perfectly. Halfway through the game, the Chiefs were holding onto a slim 2-1 lead. However in the end, there would be no denying the gold and black team as they built up a 4-1 lead with ten minutes to go and proceeded to hold on for a 4-2 victory.
The team achieved great success both on and off the ice throughout the entire weekend. The comradery and passion for the game shown has no doubt set the foundation for a successful season for the Bantam A2 Chiefs.