There was a measure of success for both Ponoka bantam hockey clubs on the weekend, in spite of each having a short bench.
However, that level of success was a bit higher for the bantam Moose than it was for the Credit Union bantam club as each competed in their own four-team division at the tournament.
The Moose wound up making the final in the A-division, after posting a 7-3 victory over Camrose followed by defeating Calgary 9-5 to advance to the final on Sunday.
Mathias Sandin netted a hat trick in the tournament opener for the Moose Friday night against Camrose while the rest of the goals came off the sticks of Colter Bresee, Eric Mathieu, Braeden Toporowski and Cyle Laing. Versus Calgary, it was Luke Bonnett and Eric Taylor each scoring a pair with the other markers coming from Jake Simanton, Bresee, Laing, Mathieu and Sandin.
Unfortunately for the Moose, the short bench of just nine skaters would hurt them in the final, losing 1-0 to a strong club made up of players from Crossfield, Carstairs and Didsbury, where Ponoka was outshot 41-19.
Elks head coach Ryan Raugust said the boys were tired and wore out, but never gave up in the final, especially when Raugust pulled the goalie with almost four minutes remaining.
“We had a couple of chances in that last few minutes, but overall it wasn’t a bad weekend for us,” he said.
“The boys played pretty well and learned a lot about what they can do.”
For the Credit Union bantam club, their tournament was definitely rough as they lost all three of their games to opponents that were bigger and faster, while also having more bodies to choose from on the bench.
The team opened the tournament with a 13-1 loss to Beiseker on Friday night, with Ashton Bandet getting the lone goal, then followed that up on Saturday afternoon with a 14-5 loss to Strathcona. Bandet had four goals in that game with the other from Ethan Little. Ponoka also lost their last game to Chestermere.
For coach Joel Rausch, having just nine skaters was something the club wasn’t able to get past.
“With the faster teams and a short bench, we were just out-skated most of the time and really over-matched,” he said.
“It’s kind of the same thing during our season so far, but the players are not giving up and really enjoy being out on the ice.”
Slap shots – It will be back to regular season action this coming weekend with several games slated for the Culture and Recreation Complex. Friday night, the Credit Union bantams host Fort Saskatchewan (8:30 p.m.) then Leduc Saturday (7:30 p.m.). Also Saturday, the bantam Moose will play Strathcona (5 p.m.), the McDonalds atoms play Daysland (10:15 a.m) and the peewee Elks play Battle River while Sunday the midget Fountain Tire Wolves face off with Drayton Valley (2:30 p.m.). The Lacoka peewee female club take on 3C’s Friday at 6:15 p.m.