Atom Wildcats win tournament

Local team battles to a 3-2 victory in final match to finish in first place

Hope atom C2 Wildcats won gold at a 16-team tournament in Penticton on the Jan. 10-12 weekend

Hope and District Minor Hockey teams were busy on the Jan. 10-12 weekend, with the atom C2 Wildcats involved in a 16-team tournament in Penticton while the midget C Wildcats hosted their own eight-team tourney at the Hope Arena.

A few of the midgets even did double duty between the rink and the Hope Secondary Hoopfest. Steven Misumi and Zack Fletcher played for the HSS Mustangs and the Wildcats, and Hayden Simon played three games for the Agassiz Chieftans as well as five for the Wildcats.

In their four round-robin matches, the Wildcats only lost once — but that record wasn’t quite good enough for them to get into the final.

“One point detoured us from getting into the finals,” said head coach Barclay Fletcher, “but we were very pleased with our performance for the bronze medal.”

Hope edged out Langley in the consolation final and Port Moody took top place versus Abbotsford in the championship.

“Our first year players really stepped up to the plate and really shined,” said coach Fletcher, “and we played like gentlemen, even against one very bad team.”

Meanwhile, the atom Wildcats were clawing their way through the pack at the Penticton event, with a short bench of only 10 skaters and a goalie.

In their first game, the Wildcats handed the hosting Penticton Rockets a 6-1 loss, then beat West Kelowna 8-1 on Saturday morning.

The goal scoring continued to soar, with Carter Anderson and Garrett High notching hat-tricks in a 10-3 rout of the Vernon Rockets. Isaac Pennier added a pair and Bryce Rouleau and Carter Briscoe got a goal each.

Hope had a 6:30 start on Sunday morning for their game against the Chilliwack Warriors, to determine who would go on to the championship finals.

Team manager Heather High said, “It was a back and forth game, with the winning goal coming for Hope with only 1:27 left.”

Hope’s 6-5 win put them into the finals against the Kelowna Night Hawks.

“Hope scored, 31 seconds into the first period to set the tone,” said High, “but the Night Hawks battled back to tie it up — then they got another one and Hope answered back.

“It was a hard-fought battle to the end, with anxious families cheering on either side,” said High.

Eventually team captain Carter Anderson broke the tension with a top shelf goal, giving the C2 Wildcats a 3-2 victory.

At each game before the final both teams awarded a Heart & Hustle award and an MVP. The MVP’s were Carter Anderson, Garrett High, Mackenzie Leverrier, and Issac Pennier. Heart & Hustle award recipients were Carson High, Mark Switchtenberg, Bryce Rouleau and Carter Anderson.

Next up for the Hope Arena is the bantam C tournament on the Jan. 31 weekend, followed by Hockey 2 Feb. 21-23 and Hockey 3 on March 7-9.