Blazers take home silver

By Jamie Harkins

February 1, 2018 10:52 AM

The Lloydminster Holiday Inn peewee Blazers emptied the tank this past weekend.
The Blazers surrendered five unanswered goals during the second and third period for a 6-3 loss to the Warman Wildcats Lions in the championship final of the Lloydminster Minor Hockey Association Peewee C Tournament at the Servus Sports Centre on Sunday.
However, the boys can hold their heads up high considering their push toward a silver medal finish highlights the strides they’ve made this season.
“We could have definitely done a lot better with the skating aspect of the game,” said Blazers defenceman Ethan Blyan.
“Overall, I thought we did a pretty good job getting back on the backcheck and on the forecheck too.”
The Blazers came out of the gate on fire starting with a Connor Frerichs marker 40 seconds in. The team kept up the pace resulting in a Brylar Chevrier goal at the 7:06 point when the forward stole the puck at his blueline, raced into the opposition zone on a break and wired a shot top corner far side from the faceoff dot.
Lyndon Simpson, captain of the Blazers, said their game plan was to get on the Wildcats early and stay on them as long as they could.
He noted their opposition has a lot of fast skaters who can move the puck, but the feeling was they could be beat.
The Wildcats’ Nate Wiens showcased their skill a little over eight minutes in when he deflected an Emmett Wegman centering pass low glove side on Blazers goalie Colby Carr.
Liam Hubbard had a great chance to restore the Blazers’ two-goal lead late in the frame on a break down the middle of the ice, but Wildcats tender Mikayla Christmann proved up to the challenge firing out his pad on an attempt at a low corner.
Blazers rearguard Mason Balan put his team up 3-1 just over a minute into the second period with a blast from the wing. Grifin Stuckless got the goal back 2:11 into the middle frame.
Tyson Wildeboer tied the game four-and-a-half minutes later with Stuckless scoring the go-ahead goal at the 15:34 mark.
That seemed to place the momentum squarely on the Wildcats’ side as the team hemmed the Blazers in their own zone for long stretches during the final minutes of the second period and the opening half of the third.
Ben Hrapckak was the only player able to get a puck past Carr’s acrobatics in goal during this stretch.
Wiens put his team’s final marker into an empty net with eight seconds remaining.
“We did good until the end,” said Blazers defenceman Landon McNaughton. “We skated pretty hard in the first period, but then we kind of ran out of gas.”
Blyan noted winning a silver medal was the best result they’ve achieved in three tournaments this season. He said they’re relying on their speed, smarts and work ethic to get the job done.
“The team is doing pretty good,” said Blyan. “We’re near the top of the league, so it’s going well. But, it would have been nice to have this one.”

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