The Sooke Novice 3 Thunderbirds entered Sunday’s game against the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies on a bit of a roll. The team had won three in a row and had suffered only one loss since Christmas. Incidentially, the aforementioned Grizzlies were responsible for that lone 2011 defeat and Sooke had revenge on their minds.
In typical Thunderbird fashion, Sooke came out flying with a couple of dominating shifts. The hard work paid off as Grant Gilbertson opened the scoring with a low wrist shot to the blocker side. After the Grizzlies tied the score Quinn MacDonald took over, grabbing the puck in the neutral zone and dancing into the offensive zone. Avoiding a couple of defenders with magical stickhandling, he slid a beautiful pass to a wide open Ben Ackinclose who converted the pass to put the Thunderbirds up 2-1.
The Grizzlies tied the score but this would be the last tie of the contest. Sooke ended the first period with a 5-2 lead on goals from Chris Piatkowski, Tait Bishop and John Richardson.
The second period featured an end-to-end rush by John Richardson and some stellar defensive play by Kobe Knowles, Justin Parker and Tyler Fogarty. Midway through the third period Ackinclose was once again the benefactor of a beautiful pass. Beau Hicks stole the puck at the Grizzlies blue line and with Gretzky-like vision set up Ackinclose with an easy tap in. Ian MacDonald closed out the scoring and the Thunderbirds posted a solid 10-4 road win.
The coaches were pleased with the performance and were impressed with the team’s unselfish play. The Thunderbirds now have a couple of weeks to prepare for a match against their archrivals, the Kerry Park Islanders.
Sooke’s Midget A Thunderbird boys blasted Kerry Park out of the Vancouver Island semi-finals on Sunday at SEAPARC.
The decisive 8-5 victory takes them to the final this weekend. Meanwhile, Juan de Fuca made the long trip up Island to defeat Triport so the two neighbouring south-Island teams will battle to see who goes to Cranbrook and provincials in March.
In Sunday’s game both teams looked strong at the start and Kerry Park got the first goal. Sooke had some great shots on goal, but couldn’t get past Kerry Park’s netminder until Bradon Senft got the opportunity on a power play, assisted by Keltan Chandler and Clay McClimon. Nick Pfeifer moved them ahead, assisted by Ryan Litoski.
By the end of the first period Sooke had two more goals from Litoski and Derek McDougall, with assists from McDougall, Tyler Smith and Zack Tucker, for a 4-2 lead.
Sooke widened the gap in the second with goals from McDougall, Senft and Tom Kirk, while Kerry Park only got one more past Nick Dueck. Two quick goals for Kerry Park in the third caught Sooke off guard, but then they got a bit of insurance when Zach Lafontaine tapped in Aaron Kasper’s slapshot.
Despite playing 12 minutes of the third period shorthanded, Sooke held the lead to win the game.
– Doni Eve
The Sooke People’s Drug Mart Atom C1 Thunderbirds scored back to back victories this weekend against the Saanich Braves. With most of the team earning at least one point on the weekend and some great goaltending from Hunter Burket and Austin Cavan, the Thunderbirds showed how well they work together as a team. Notable efforts were made on both days by Mercer Balzer and Triston Waskul who greatly contributed to keeping the Braves frustrated with their hard work and intensity.
The double win this weekend puts the C1 boys in great position for the upcoming playoffs.
– Cass Graber