The midget Thunder hosted teams from across northern B.C. in a hard-fought tournament last weekend.
The Thunder took third in the tournament, with Smithers beating them in the semi-finals and getting the go ahead to take on, and ultimately lose to, the Prince George Tier 2 Cougars.
“Even though I would have liked to have done better this weekend I think the order in which the teams placed was accurate with their level of play over the weekend,” coach Rick Izzard said.
The first trio of games the Thunder bore down like their namesake, making easy work of the 100 Mile House Mayvin Milers, the Prince George Tier 3 Cougars and the Dawson Creek Canucks.
The Thunder started slow against the Milers, scoring a lonely goal in the first, then hit their stride in the second, scoring three unanswered goals. The Thunder opened up the scoring in the third as well, scoring three in the first half of the period before settling down. The Milers managed the first and second goals late in the period, which were matched by the Thunder for a 9-2 final.
Their next game, against the Tier 3 Cougars, was equally one-sided. The Thunder came out early this time, scoring thrice in the first, all unanswered. They bagged a lonely one in the second, and hit their stride in the third, slamming home five more goals, while the Tier 3 Cougars managed their lone goal.
Saturday morning, the Thunder faced off against the Dawson Creek Canucks. The Thunder struck hard in the first, scoring over half over their goals, in a six goal run that ran through most of the first, with the Canucks managing only a single late goal. The second was more even, with the Thunder scoring two early and the Canucks managing one before the 10 minute mark. In the third, the game calmed down again, with each team taking a point to finish the game 10-3 in favour of the Thunder.
In their fourth game against the Tier 2 Cougars, the Thunder ran into trouble
“We simply had a difficult time finishing chances early in the game as we had three or four posts and their goalie played very well,” Izzard said.
The Prince George team took three goals in the first, dampening the Thunder’s spirits as they struggled to turn their luck around. Early in the second they found a bit of luck, scoring their only point of the game. The Cougars came back to nullify the goal with two of their own. In the third they pounded nails in the Thunder’s coffin, netting another two points for a 7-1 win over the Thunder.
That put the Cougars on top, while forcing the Thunder to play a semi-final game against Smithers to see who would challenge the Tier 2 Cougars for supremacy.
“Again we were snake bitten when it came to scoring early,” Izzard said.
“We could have been up by two or there with any luck but it didn’t work out for us the way we wanted.”
Despite the bad bounces, the Thunder and Smithers were tied after the first at one a piece, with the Thunder opening the scoring at fifteen minute, with Smithers matching soon after. In the second, Smithers started to creep ahead, with matching the Thunder in less-than-a-minute-in goals, with one a-piece, then scoring again two minute later to put them up one going into the third. The scored twice in the first three minutes of the period and managed to keep the Thunder from scoring at all to take the game 5-2.
Smithers would go on to challenge the P.G. Tier 2 team, but fail, losing 4-3 to land in second and keep the P.G. team up top.