Story courtesy of Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News
The South East Athletic Club Tigers finished up the 45th annual Hockey Hounds Major Bantam Tournament the same way they started it — with a dominating win.
After opening the tournament with two victories, one being an 8-4 win over the defending champion Pursuit of Excellence, the Tigers lost two of their next three games and missed out a shot at the semifinals.
But Tigers head coach Jason Bartram says he was happy to see the team end on a high note, a 6-2 win over the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers.
“We finished the tournament exactly how we needed to, and exactly how we started it,” he said. “Record aside, I wanted the guys to build confidence off of this tournament. We did a lot of good things this weekend that will help us during the second half of the season here. For me, I have 19 healthy players. That was the most important thing. When you do these tournaments, you never want to lose players.”
Finishing with a record of 3-2 at the tournament, Bartram says the team learned some harsh lessons over the course of the weekend.
“It was a tough way to do it, but we took a period off against Prince Albert and it cost us. It’s not a fun way to learn these things, but it’s still a positive,” he said. “We then took three periods in our fourth game, which again, is a lesson. We didn’t play as hard as we could have against some good teams, and it cost us. I hope the boys can learn from it. We want to use the weekend to build around things we thought we could do well, and we saw it this weekend.”
Vancouver’s St. George’s Academy took home the tournament championship with a 5-2 victory over Sherwood Park in Sunday’s final at the Kinplex. Delta took home bronze with a victory over Prince Albert.
SEAC teams have struggled in recent years at their home tournament, but Bartram says he was happy to see the team make a push toward the semifinals.
“I’ve done this tournament in the past, and we had a strong team a few years ago, but it’s been a while,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming for this team, and I know the boys wanted to show well. Now after playing like this, I think we’re going to start to see some more respect from other teams and we’re going to be seeing a lot less backup goalies.”
Tigers goalie Marek Andres played four of the five games over the weekend, and says the tournament was a positive experience.
“It was a good tournament and I had a lot of fun,” he said. “It was fun to get a lot of games in, but I think we learned that we need to be on the top of our game every night and work hard. It was great seeing all the people at the rink for our games.”
With a goal and two assists in his team’s final game, Caleb Wyrostok says he is proud of how the team played throughout the tournament.
“I thought today (Sunday) was a great team performance,” he said. “I think it was a good showing for us for us overall. I think going 3-2 in a tournament as big as this is really good, and really good for our confidence.”