The Penticton Speedway Hornets spring hockey team stung the competition en route to winning the Chilliwack Spring Kick Off tournament last weekend.
The 2003-born Hornets defeated the host Chilliwack junior Chiefs 4-1. They opened by defeating the Northern Selects 4-0. They earned their second win 7-0 over the Okanagan All Stars, then lost 3-1 to the Chiefs. The Hornets rebounded with a 6-2 win over the Vancouver Black Selects.
“I felt that the kids played strong. They played good hockey all the way through,” said Hornets coach Johnny Aantjes. “The one game we did lose, we lost our composure a bit. It’s easy to blame the refs, we had some issues with the officiating. We lost our focus and then we just never got back into hockey mode.”
Aantjes said the tournament was an introduction to body checking for the players entering their first year of bantam. He noticed that all the teams were feeling out how to hit, making it part of the game while not losing composure.
“Our boys typically work really hard. They play a very good team game,” he said. “They pass the puck well. For the most part they have incorporated contact into the sport pretty responsibly. They are doing it reasonably well.”
This weekend the Hornets will head to Calgary for a tournament. Aantjes expects it to be tougher, which will be good for the team, he said. They will also play in an Okanagan Hockey Academy tournament, as well as one in Kamloops at the end of the month.
Aantjes said he has a good group that works hard. The majority of the players are from Penticton, while two are from Spokane, Vernon and one from West Kelowna.