Stay gold Thunder

Bantam Thunder pull off stunning win to get gold in provincials.

The Thunder celebrate their provincial win on the ice.

The Thunder celebrate their provincial win on the ice.

The Bantam Thunder stayed gold, winning the top medal at provincials in Dawson Creek last week.

The Thunder came off some down time coming into the provincials, but they came in ready.

“They came mentally and physically to play. They put all the distractions behind them that week and did a fantastic job,” coach Allen Slaney said.

Coming into the tournament, Castlegar was their first opponent and they offered significant resistance. Tied for much of the game, with a lot of back and forth, Quesnel’s Matt Kuehn scored with 24 seconds left in game giving Quesnel the 2-1 win.

Revelstoke was next and they proved to be an even closer match, tying at 3-3.

It was their third game, against Juan de Fuca, that the Thunder found their winning ways.

“We got really pumped before that game. We started talking more and the bodies came out reedy to go and we started scoring goals,” captain Cole Slaney said.

“That really put the momentum on our side for the whole tournament.”

Both teams came out with energy. Juan de Fuca was the first to get on the board, but Quesnel was quick to come back, scoring two to Juan de Fuca’s one in the first. The game continued in that vein, with back and forth play, but Quesnel continued to double up on Juan de Fuca until the 6-3 final.

“They just really turned it up and there was no one standing in our way with the exception of our final game against Castlegar,” Allen Slaney said.

The next day, the Thunder showed their momentum with two striking wins.

First, Quesnel took down Cranbrook in a one-sided 16-2 game, then, in the same day, beat Juan de Fuca 8-1 in the first two periods, sitting back and saving energy for the final period, in which there was no scoring action.

At the end, the Thunder were back where they began, on the ice with Castlegar.

The game was close throughout, with both teams trading goals. With 1:17 left in the third Quesnel snuck ahead, 4-3. With nine seconds left, Castlegar answered, forcing the game into an extra period.

“We had no momentum going into over time and we had a lot of pressure on us,” Cole Slaney said.

Despite the boost Castlegar had, OT was scoreless through most of the period, until the dying seconds, when Myles Mattila scored the championship winning goal.

“I just remember it going to the back of the net and jumping,” Cole Slaney said.

The OT goal netted the Thunder their goal at the beginning of the season and capped off a great season the right way.

Allen Slaney was proud of the team and the leadership they took on themselves.

“Our leadership group, from the beginning, has been wonderful. I’ve encouraged the team to be leaders both on and off the ice,” he said.