Squamish misses chance against Langley for finals spot

Fraser Valley’s Eagles take top prize in midget tournament

It was one of those tournaments in which anybody could beat anybody.

Unfortunately, for the host Squamish Eagles midget team on Friday, they had to face off against the Sunshine Coast team, which had not beaten the other teams from Langley and North Delta but had handed the locals a big 7-1 loss to open the tournament on Dec. 28.

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Coach Rich Timm admitted his team came out slowly against Sunshine Coast on Wednesday after not having played for a couple of weeks.

“That was our first game back,” he said.

Squamish would go on to have better luck against the eventual two finalists, coming back to tie North Delta 6-6 before losing in a shootout on the first day.

“We’ve never been in a shootout yet,” Timm said. “It’s one of the tiebreakers for the tournament.”

On day two, Squamish finished the round robin with another comeback that again went to a shootout against the Langley Eagles, but this time the locals won.

They had opened the scoring when captain Nick Sutherland found the back of the net. Langley tied it and eventually led by the end of the first period.

The visitors went up 4-2 in the second, before Williams Trento popped in rebound to cut the deficit to one. Almost halfway through the third, Riley Pawluk put a low shot past Langley goalie Tyler Verbeek to tie things up. Despite some late pressure, Squamish could not get the decisive goal in regulation, so the teams went to the shootout. Goalie Ray Fianza managed to blank both Langley shooters, while Squamish’s Brett Granger and Mark Roblin were able to beat Verbeek.

The win put Squamish is the third slot for the semi-finals in an Eagles versus Eagles rematch against Langley. This time, the visitors came out on top in a game that was close until the end, though marred by some quick whistles from the referee.

The game was a tug-of-war with Langley jumping out to a lead and Squamish coming back on two occasions, but the locals could not manage a third goal and lost 3-2.

On Friday, Squamish again faced off against Sunshine Coast, who had lost to North Delta in the semis, for third place.

Whether they had run out of gas or simply had trouble with the Sunshine Coast matchup, the Squamish team could not muster much sustained offensive pressure, losing 6-2 in the end.

For Friday’s tournament championship, North Delta came in without a loss but quickly looked like they had run out of gas against Langley. The game was marked by tight checking at the outset, but Langley managed to score with just under seven minutes left in the first. After two, they led North Delta 3-0. North Delta applied some pressure and did manage one goal, but Langley scored shortly after and added another to coast to the 5-1 win.

The tournament was the third one Squamish hosted during the Christmas season, and with only four teams taking part, the games took place with the conventional 20-minute period lengths instead of the abbreviated versions for larger tournaments.

“Every game so far has been 20, 20 and 20,” tournament coordinator Dave Knight said.

He was pleased that for the most part during the round robin, the matchups had been close, with most games being decided by a goal or two.

“It’s pretty competitive [between] all the teams,” Knight said. The next Squamish tournament on the calendar is an atom Family Day event from Feb. 10 to 13.

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