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Sea to Sky Bears claim victory at Kamloops tournament

The Bears' U18 A1 team was undefeated in the January event.

Local hockey players clinched another decisive victory at a recent tournament in Kamloops.

The Sea to Sky Bears U18 A1 team was undefeated during the five games they played from Jan. 6 to 8 during the event, which was hosted by the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association.

When it comes to tournaments, the team has been on a winning streak lately, as they recently emerged as winners in an event held in Kelowna back in October.

During this month's tournament, the scores showed the Bears had put on a dominant performance.

Team manager Wendy Kearns Moore provided a summary of the games that the group played.

During the first game, the Sea to Sky players took out the team from Williams Lake by a score of 7-2. Of note was the performance by Noel Harper, who scored a hat trick.

The second game saw the Bears defeat the Conquerants de la Sarre, who travelled from Quebec for this tournament, by a score of 6-4. The Bears were led by Joel Mazzotti's two goals and Kieran Rice's three assists, Moore wrote.

The winning streak just kept going.

On the third game, Bears beat the host team, Kamloops, with a 9-0 shutout.

Another shutout was to follow during Game 4. By the end of the match, the Bears were up 8-0 against Vernon, with Max Simonsen scoring a hat trick.

Finally, to cap it off, the Bears once again faced the Quebec team again for the final game. In the end, the Bears emerged victorious with a 9-1 win against the Conquerants de la Sarre, Moore wrote.

The Bears' head coach, Mike Borelli, said that the Quebec team was one of the tougher match-ups of the tournament.

The first time the Bears played the Conquerants de la Sarre, there was a moment when they were on their backfoot.

Borelli said that one of the challenges of playing the Quebec team was the element of the unknown. The Sea to Sky team hadn't encountered them before.

"Our first game against them, we were actually down really early on in the game," said Borelli. "And the boys just battled back and we ended up winning that game 6-4."

That experience informed their approach to playing the Conquerants when they met again during the final game of the tournament.

"We knew that if we could get up early on them that they would start to take penalties and the team would kind of fall apart and we did that," Borelli said.

The plan worked, and Bears have claimed yet another tournament victory.

As for the bigger picture, Borelli said that the team is sticking to its program of intense conditioning and skills work.

"The process doesn't change," he said. "The entire season is just sticking with the process and just continuing to remain focused and build on our skills and build on our team tactics. We will continue to work with our skills coaches that come in from the Lower Mainland, our goalie skills coaches and our on-ice skills coaches, and then we'll continue to do our conditioning through The Sound MMA gym in town and Jamey [-Lyn Horth Wessels] is the coach of that."

Borelli thanked the parents, players, and Kearns Moore extended her thanks to the team's sponsors.

"I'm obviously super proud of the boys and you know, the way in which they played over the weekend," he said. "And just a huge thank-you to the parents, because, you know, this doesn't really happen [without them,] right? Like it's the time and the effort and the money and all that stuff."

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