The Methow Valley’s 10 and under youth hockey team, the Wolverines, picked up its first win of the 2022 season and earned third-place honors at last weekend’s tournament at the Winthrop Rink.
The Wolverines defeated the Tacoma Rockets, 5-4, in the consolation bracket Sunday to take home the trophy.
Winthrop jumped out to a 4-2 lead through the first two periods, then added a goal early in the third to pad the lead at 5-2. Then it was hang-on time as the Rockets scored a pair of goals and kept the pressure on with a number of rushes into the Wolverine end.
Wolverine Coach John Schafer called a time out with 2:04 left, reminding his charges to keep the puck out of their end of the rink, and to protect the goal. The Wolverines were successful several times at sending the puck back into the center ice area, forcing the Rockets to regroup and running precious seconds off the clock.
The 10U “Squirt” Tournament was originally slated for 12 teams, running Friday morning through Sunday afternoon, but weather and travel conditions significantly reduced the number of people able to get to Winthrop.
Tournament director and Winthrop Rink Manager Steve Bondi described how teams and coaches scrambled to make something happen in the face of the challenges provided by Mother Nature’s 22 inches of overnight snow during the wee hours Thursday morning.
“We went to work early Thursday morning and had the rink ready for use in time for our regular Thursday evening Women’s Drop In Hockey program,” said Bondi. “We shoveled out the center ice area, mostly by hand, then blew it over the glass at both ends.”
“The tournament field of 12 teams was set in October. Then the snow storm and pass closures upended everything,” said Bondi. “Coeur d’Alene was able to travel from Idaho, so we had one team. Eight players plus families from the Seattle Jr. Kraken team came early on Wednesday night as did three players and their families from Sno-King hockey association. These players combined into one team, so we had our second team (KrakenKing).
“The Tacoma Rockets drove via the Gorge to add our third team, and added three players from Whatcom Warriors who happened to come early with their families. Then we had the Winthrop Wolverine home team for our fourth team.”
In the title match, Coeur d’Alene defeated KrakenKing, 8-2, for the championship trophy.
Next up on the schedule for youth hockey at the Winthrop Rink is a 12 U tournament slated for the weekend of Feb. 4-6.