With three seconds left on the clock, coaches of the Penticton atom rec No.2 Predators had to stop players from leaping off the bench.
The players couldn’t contain themselves as they defeated Semiahmoo 6-4 to win their home tournament on Sunday. The team was led by Mathis Preston’s four-goal performance. Also scoring were Spencer McRann and Luke Sandham.
“They were ecstatic,” said Predators coach Steve Byrnell, who said they were halfway over the boards before having to grab them. “For a lot of the kids, it was their first gold medal championship.”
Including the championship game, the Predators went undefeated in five games. Byrnell said he thought his team played really well in the final. They worked hard every shift and had a lot of puck possession.
“We moved the puck really well,” said Byrnell. “We had lots of shots. The defence played solid. They were able to shut down Semiahmoo’s offence. Everybody contributed.”
The Predators also received strong goaltending from Tanner Schwartzenburger, who Byrnell said was “unreal.”
In the final, Schwartzenburger was solid.
“He just shut the door,” said Byrnell. “For a small goalie, he played a big game. He made critical stops.”
In other Penticton Minor Hockey Association action, the bantam Murray GM Vees lost to West Kelowna on Nov. 12 5-4. The Vees continually came back from two-goal deficits until falling short. The scorers were Owen Labadie with two, Finn Hallway and Kieran Simpson.
The Penticton Brand Messenger atom development Vees lost 8-7 against Kelowna on Nov. 13. The Vees had a six-goal outburst in the third period. Scorers were Cole Wadsworth with three, Dexter Materi two, Will Mohns and Simon Bowland with one each.