Quesnel Atom Selects were ‘sky-hi’ after winning Fiesta Cup

Thunder players showed their grit as they came from behind in semifinal and final games

The Quesnel Sky-Hi Scaffolding Atom Selects won the South Okanagan Minor Hockey Association’s Fiesta Cup in Osoyoos on Mar. 16-18.

The long-running tournament features Atom teams from Canada and the United States.

The Quesnel Thunder came from behind in both semifinal and final games to win the tourney.

Quesnel played Kimberley in the semifinal – Kimberley finished first and the Selects were fourth in their pool.

The Thunder were down 4-1 halfway through that game, but they mounted a huge comeback to win 6-5 and gain a berth in the championship game.

Quesnel went up against Fernie in the final game for the right to hoist the Fiesta Cup.

The Selects had to come from behind again, but it wasn’t the huge climb they had in the semifinal.

They went down 1-0, but tied it up.

Then they fell behind 2-1.

The Selects knotted the score at two apiece.

Then the Thunder boomed and Quesnel rolled on to a 4-2 victory.

Dawson Ernst, Blake Riley, Austen Turner and Luke Novak were scoring leaders, with Ernst collecting two game MVP selections.

Quesnel has attended this tournament for 44 years and this is the first time coming home with gold in 38 years, says team manager Mike Ernst.

“Thanks to all our great parents and coaching staff on a great year end,” he adds.

“I’m really proud of how these kids supported each other and pushed each other to come back and finish this season so strong.

“It shows the character built within them this season.”

Ernst notes all the players had a No. 31 patch on their jersey shoulders in honour of the team’s other goalie, Aidan Howe, who collapsed at the Williams Lake tournament in January with a non-hockey related issue, which ended his season.

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Quesnel Atom Selects team wore No. 31 shoulder patches and carried Aidan Howe’s jersey during the opening ceremony of the Fiesta Cup Tournament. They wanted their goalie, who fell sick at a tournament in Williams Lake in January, to be with them the tourney in Osoyoos on March 16-18.

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