A bounce here or there and the Watkin Motors Mustangs could have been in the semifinals of the 41st annual Coca-Cola Invitational Pee Wee Hockey Classic.
Instead, the hard-luck Mustangs will play in today’s 10 a.m. D final against the Spokane Jr. Chiefs at Civic Arena.
After losing a 3-2 double overtime thriller to the Chiefs Thursday night, the Mustangs bowed 4-3 to the Edmonton NWZ Raiders Friday afternoon
Vernon lost 8-3 to the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies, while the Seattle Sno-Kings iced Spokane 10-4 in playoff action Saturday morning.
“We’re obviously pretty down after a tough game this morning, but we’ll regroup and hopefully put on a good show in the D final,” said Mustang assistant coach Murray Caton.
Tyler Preziuso supplied 3+2 and Tanner Sidway added 1+2 for the Grizz, who got singles from Brady Lynn, Sam Bradshaw, Caleb Kueber and Connor Nawosad.
Owen Beliveau, Dylan Sedlacek and Reed Cashato replied for the Mustangs.
“We had two or three really close games and we really thought we deserved a better fate against Spokane,” added Caton. “We played really well against a very strong Edmonton club and just couldn’t get a break. The boys competed well.”
In the first Saturday afternoon semi, the Vancouver Thunderbirds, who topped the Coca-Cola Division at 3-0, met the Bow Valley Flames of Calgary, who were second in the Sun Valley Sports Division at 1-2. The 3-0 South Delta Storm battled Edmonton in the other semi.
The Amy Myles Memorial A final in the eight-team tourney goes today at 6 p.m.
Vernon mounted a solid attack in the third period and enjoyed several scoring chances against Edmonton in a game which saw the two Raider assistant coaches tossed for verbal abuse of referee Mark Trznadel, and one player from each team ejected for a check from behind.
Forward Trey Fix-Wolansky, who is definitely a star of tomorrow, led Edmonton with 2+1. Ethan Beattie, with 1+2, and Ryan Hughes helped the Raiders, while Brett Gammer pocketed three helpers.
Reece Schroeder, Ethan King and Matt Kowalski (scoring on his mom’s 40th birthday), answered for the Mustangs.
Vernon goalie Shane Meadahl made a fabulous breakaway save on Troy Dudley with 76 seconds remaining, while tireless Connor Johnston controlled the puck all over the Raider zone as the Mustangs pressed hard for the equalizer.
Nick Watson bagged a deuce as South Delta stopped Bow Valley 5-2 in the late game Friday night.
Trey Belmont scored twice as Seattle edged Juan de Fuca 5-4 with Lynn getting two goals for the Grizzlies.
Vancouver got a goal from Ante Mustapic at 1:24 of double overtime to shade Spokane 3-2 Friday afternoon.
In earlier Friday games, Dylan Anhorn pulled the hat trick as the Flames torched Seattle 7-1, and Watson and Nathan Kelly each counted two goals in South Delta’s 6-3 victory over Juan de Fuca.