Coy Cup Third day scores

Joined: February 21st, 2017, 11:12 pm

March 31st, 2017, 3:48 pm #1

Kelowna Sparta 5 Whitehorse Huskies 5
Terrace River Kings 3 North Island Capitals 2

Kelowna Sparta now head straight to Saturday evenings final and await the semi-final winner of Friday's game between host Whitehorse and the Terrace River Kings.

The North Island Capitals begin the long journey home with some fine memories of the Yukon.

Joined: February 21st, 2017, 11:12 pm

April 1st, 2017, 2:47 am #2

By Marissa Tiel on March 31, 2017

The Whitehorse Huskies had to win by two. With less than a minute left in their final Coy Cup round-robin game and up by one, they pulled their goalie and went on the attack.

The extra man wasn’t enough and Kelowna Sparta’s Shawn Mueller scored an empty-netter with six seconds remaining to force a 5-5 tie.

With that result, the Sparta (2-0-1) get a bye into Saturday night’s Coy Cup final while the Huskies (1-1-1) will fight for their lives in a semifinal tonight against the Terrace River Kings (2-1-0).

“Tonight it was a few lucky bounces and I guess the hard work paid off and we got the bye, which is huge,” said Kelowna Sparta forward and defenceman Kelly Loudoun.

“Our goal at the start of the year was to make it here and now that we made it here, our goal is to win it. I think even though this year has been a success already, we’ve still got a bit more work to do. I don’t think we’ll be happy going home without the win.”

Kelowna, which won it’s first two games with a short bench, welcomed the arrival of eight more players before their game against Whitehorse.

“Our guys that came in today were fresh and really excited,” said coach Kim Barnstable. “The team had kind of gained some chemistry in the two games before and then when we got everybody together I think we gelled in the third period; we started to get it together.”

Their previous skate as a team was at home last week.

The Sparta welcome the day’s rest before the final Saturday.

“We’ve got some bumps and some bruises and we want to make sure we use our time off in the right way,” said Barnstable. “I think the guys have all bought into that so we’ll take tomorrow off, rest up and watch the game and be ready for Saturday.”

Whitehorse, meanwhile, will have to fight for their lives against Terrace, which has won their previous two Coy Cup battles. In 2016, Terrace beat Whitehorse 6-3 in the round-robin and on Wednesday night they prevailed 7-6, holding off a late Huskies surge.

“We owe them one now; well we owe them two,” said Huskies goalie JJ Gainsforth after last night’s tie. “Tomorrow night we just have to pay them back.”

Gainsforth has been strong in net for the Huskies, starting since Jon Olthuis was injured early in the second period of their first game. He is listed as day-to-day and coach Michael Tuton said he’s “doubtful for tonight.”

“It was a little bit of a surprise, to be honest that he goes down like that in the first game. He’s a great goaltender and that’s why we brought him in,” said Gainsforth last night. “But it’s nothing new for me either, like I’ve started for the Huskies before and so once you wrap your head around it that you’re going to be in it for the weekend, then it’s pretty easy to compete.”

Gainsforth stayed composed through the game, even during a more than 20-second stretch in the third period when he was without a stick.

“It was just competitive in front of the net and you just get tangled up in stuff and I mean every once in a while you lose your stick or you get run into, or whatever,” he said. “The big thing is you can’t lose your composure too much. You have to stay in the game.”

The Huskies were up 5-3 with just over six minutes left in the game. But Charles Dagostin was called for boarding and given a game misconduct after he and Kelowna’s Kevin Walrod went awkwardly into the boards behind the Whitehorse net.

The Huskies nearly killed the ensuing five-minute penalty, which was served by Ted Stephens, but Shawn Mueller got a shot past Gainsforth on the power play to bring Kelowna within one with 1:57 left in the game.

The Huskies pulled Gainsforth for the extra attacker in a last-ditch effort to secure the bye into the final, but Mueller got another into the empty net to tie the game 5-5.

“That was a first for me,” said Gainsforth of being pulled while the team was up in the game, “but you gotta do what you gotta do for the team.”

Gainsforth said that following the game, the talk in the locker room was all about tonight’s game against Terrace.

“It feels like a win, even though it was a tie game, heading towards tomorrow, it’s just important to bring the same thing,” he said. “That was the best game we played all tournament. We just have to do the same thing tomorrow. We’ll be in the finals.”

Tuton said today will be business as usual for the Huskies and he’s hoping they can build on the momentum from their games this week when they face the River Kings tonight at 7 p.m.

NOTES: The Huskies led the round-robin in goals scored. They found the back of the net 17 times. ... The North Island Capitals were eliminated from the Coy Cup following their loss to the Terrace River Kings 3-2 last night.

Joined: February 21st, 2017, 11:12 pm

April 1st, 2017, 2:49 am #3

by Tom Patrick Friday March 31, 2017

With a minute to go in the third period, Whitehorse hockey fans witnessed a rare sight. It doubtless left a few spectators confused.

The Whitehorse Huskies didn’t just need to win March 30 against the Kelowna Sparta, they needed to win by two goals to secure the bye to the Coy Cup final.

So while leading by a goal the Huskies pulled their goalie to try for a two-goal win. The gamble didn’t pay off.

The Sparta tied with an empty-netter, securing the bye to the final for themselves, leaving the Huskies to face the Terrace River Kings in the March 31 semifinal.

“Our boys aren’t down, we’re just starting to hit our stride,” said Huskies head coach Michael Tuton. “You look at the last two games, the last four, five periods, we’ve been getting better every period. It’s odd to hang your head over a tie when you pull your goalie, but what the heck — we went for it.”

The Huskies and Sparta tied 5-5 in both teams’ third and final round robin game at Takhini Arena on March 30.

The previous game saw the departure of the North Island Capitals — eliminated with a third straight loss, falling 3-2 to the River Kings.

Had the Huskies won on Thursday, they would have tied Sparta and the River Kings with a round robin record of two wins and a loss. The tie would be settled by goals for, divided by goals for and against (not counting games involving the Capitals). The Sparta topped Terrace 3-2 on March 28, the day before Whitehorse lost to Terrace 7-6.

“We’re not seeing it as a loss or a tie — we played well enough for the win,” said Huskies captain Evan Campbell.

It was the first time in Campbell’s hockey career he’s been on a team that pulled its goalie in a winning situation. “Absolutely,” he said. “I’m sure some of the people in the crowd were wondering what was going on.”

“I thought we played a very good game,” he added. “Our goalie played well, our defence really played a good game and our forwards were disciplined, played well all night. It was our best game of the tournament and that’s what we’re here to do: get better every game.”

Having the bye slip through their fingers was made worse by the fact the Huskies had a two-goal lead for a few minutes in the third. Forward Kevin Petovello sniped a goal from the wing to make it 5-3 with 6:51 to go. Twenty-six seconds later Huskies defenceman Charles Dagostin was given a game misconduct on a boarding call, leaving his team down a man for five minutes. The Huskies killed off all but 12 seconds of the penalty before Sparta forward Shawn Mueller cut the lead to one on a goal that pinballed off the glass and off the skate of Huskies goalie J.J. Gainsforth.

“Coming into the third we knew we had to win it by two goals and that we were going to go after it,” said Tuton. “It’s pretty tough to kill a five-minute penalty off, but we started gaining more momentum off that. They got a terrible bounce off the glass and off the back of J.J.’s skate and in she went. Our boys aren’t hanging their heads, they’re ready to go tomorrow.”

Huskies forwards Kane Dawe and Derek Klassen each had two goals. Forward Ted Stephens logged three assists. Defenceman Alex Dzielski notched two assists and Petovello had an assist to go with his goal.

Mueller scored his second for Sparta to tie the game with six seconds to go. Kevin Walrod, Scott Wasden and Layne Stopanski also scored for Kelowna.

The Sparta, a new team making their first Coy Cup appearance, also had fresher legs on Thursday. They played with two lines in their first two games before reinforcements in the order of eight more players flew in the day of their game against the Huskies.

If the last five minutes of Terrace’s win over the Huskies is any indication, tonight’s semifinal will be a battle. The third period got heated, both in play and tempers, as the Huskies cut Terrace’s three-goal lead to two. The Huskies scored two goals 13 seconds apart to pull within one and put a flurry of shots on net but couldn’t get one past River Kings tender Patrick Leal to tie.

If the Huskies win tonight, it’ll be a first. Whitehorse is 0-2 against Terrace, including a loss at last year’s Coy Cup — the B.C. senior men’s AA championship.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Tuton.

Contact Tom Patrick at