Sooke Thunderbirds play to tie; eye tournament

The Thunderbirds are in third place and still have a chance to take first in the division

Santa didn’t quite deliver the gift the Sooke Thunderbirds were hoping for as they headed into the Christmas break, but sometimes you gotta take the second present under the tree.

The Midget A Thunderbirds skated to a 1-1 tie against the struggling Juan de Fuca Grizzlies in Colwood on Saturday.

Sooke came out strong in the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey League game, but it was Juan de Fuca who scored the game’s first goal in the second period. The Thunderbirds scored later in the period when Nin Dougall potted a single.

The Thunderbirds thought they had the winning marker in the third, but it was waved off by the officials when they ruled the net was knocked off its moorings.

The lack of goal scoring has been a concern for the team as of late, said coach Kevin Berger.

“We’re playing well and playing our systems well, but we just can’t find the back of the net,” he said.

The Thunderbirds are in third place and still have a chance to take first when they return to regular season play in January.

Berger hopes to fine-tune his team when it plays in a Christmas tournament, beginning Monday (Dec. 28) in Victoria.

“The number 1 goal is to have fun,” Berger said of the tournament, adding they will work on team building.

“I like to use tournaments to experiment a little. It’s a good chance to see what’s going to work and what doesn’t.”

One thing is for sure: it will put the Thunderbirds in good stead as they head into the second half of the season and perhaps a trip to the provincial championships.

“We’ll work on sharpening everything up for the new year,” said a confident Berger.