Third place may not have been what they wanted, but it was probably the outcome the Ponoka Fountain Tire midget Wolves deserved.
The Wolves played host to clubs from Stettler, Strathmore, Lloydminster, Sherwood Park and 3Cs in their annual tournament held last weekend, with the home squad winding up taking home third place.
Ponoka was clobbered 10-2 in its opener Dec. 8 by Stettler before doubling up Sherwood Park the next afternoon by a count of 6-3 to catch second in the round robin. That pitted them against Strathmore in the semi-final that evening, where they lost 6-2. In Sunday’s third place contest, Ponoka would go on to defeat 3Cs 6-3.
Wolves bench boss Shane Norn would have liked a better result but the big win was seeing his players leaving the rink happy at the end.
“The team showed good adversity in Sunday’s game and stepped up their play when they needed to. They managed to stay strong through the weekend and the four games we played, due to their conditioning I believe,” he said.
“Although there were some ups and downs, and everyone was guilty of making some mistakes, I think as a team we reacted and overcame to the best of our ability. Everyone left the rink at the end with a smile on their face, so that’s the biggest win here.”
Norn added his coaching staff has seen some improvements, specifically moving the puck and being aware of where they are supposed to be.
“They have improved a great deal on their powerplay set up, penalty killing, defensive end coverage and forecheck,” he said.
“However, it will still take some time for it to become second nature for them.”
Versus Stettler, Jake Simanton and Cyle Laing had the Wolves’ goals, while against Sherwood Park it was Emett Norn, Sam Neath, Luke Bonnett and Tristan Johnson each scored once with Quinton Adam adding a pair.
In the semi-final, Adam and Ethan Little scored early in the first to tie the game, but Ponoka was frustrated the rest of the way to the point where a questionable Strathmore hit with just over a minute left in the second caused a near line brawl. Two players from each side were tossed for fighting and the rest of the game was far more tame.
In the third place contest, it was pretty much all Ponoka as the Wolves scored twice in each frame while 3Cs notched one per period. Ponoka’s scoring would come from Little, Johnson, Hunter Busat, Owen Feragen, Jared Bussiere and Joel Hollingsworth.
Stettler was the dominant force at the tournament and captured the title with 9-0, blanking Strathmore in the final.