The first game of the Greater Trail Pee Wee Rep Tier 2 tournament eventually decided how things would end for the host team on the weekend.
A 2-2 draw against the Nelson Leafs in Friday’s opening game ultimately determined the fate of the Greater-Trail entry in the annual event.
That tie, coupled with a 6-4 win over Spokane and a 5-3 loss to Port Moody, left the Smokies one agonizing point short of a berth in the playoff round on Sunday.
“It was so close,” said Reps co-coach Dennis McKinnon. “And that’s the way our league (the Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association) has gone this year.”
Four teams from the OMAHA division were part of the six teams, including the host team. However, the final standings of the tournament didn’t reflect the regular season standings.
Once the final draw was determined, three teams with two wins – Penticton, Port Moody and Kelowna – advanced to the playoff round. Penticton got the bye into the final of the seven-team tournament while Port Moody overcame Kelowna in the Sunday morning semifinal to set up the championship game.
It wasn’t close as the rested Penticton squad skated to a lopsided 7-1 win in the final.
Penticton finished fourth in the OMAHA standings behind Trail, Kelowna and first-place Westside
Ironically on the weekend, Westside got past Spokane on Sunday to finish sixth.
“That’s the way it is,” said McKinnon. “We’re all so close. This weekend Penticton was the best team.”
Meanwhile, all that was left for the Smokies was a rematch with Nelson in the fourth-fifth place game, which they won in a landslide by a 10-0 score.
Greater Trail actually finished with two wins, a loss and a tie although its final game, a 5-2 win over Kelowna Saturday night only impacted Kelowna’s record. Nevertheless, Bradley Ross had a pair of goals as the Smokies sealed the win with three goals in the third.
Its Saturday morning victory over Spokane saw the American squad erase a 4-0 deficit before Lucas Anselmo and Tom McConnachie scored third-period goals for the winning margin.
Austin Cox scored twice for Greater Trail but those were the only goals the team could get past Nelson goalie Brody Herridge in Friday’s 2-2 draw.
“If we beat Nelson, we end up in first place,” said McKinnon.
The team’s only loss came Friday night against Port Moody. Conner Sieb, McConnachie and Ross scored for Trail but it would be Port Moody’s Zack Dallzanna stealing the show with three goals and five points for the winners.
After its solid win over Nelson on Sunday, the Reps now seek out exhibition games to keep the team sharp as it readies for the provincial tournament March 18-22 in Salmon Arm.
Meanwhile in Fruitvale, Greater Trail squared off against five other teams in the Tier 3 tournament.
Although the local squad finished sixth overall, losing to Cranbrook on Sunday morning, a Kootenay team did come out on top.
Creston completed the double-win on the final day by beating Grand Forks in the semifinal and capping off the weekend with an exciting 3-2 win over Kelowna in the final.
Kelowna beat Spokane in the other semifinal.