In true Terrace fashion, Terrace’s Bantam Reps went into the Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament as the tournament underdogs – and emerged with the B championship title.
The 47th annual invite-only tournament, held the first weekend in January, attracts over 30 teams from as far away as Seattle and Alaska, as well as academies and clubs from B.C. Terrace, typically a tier 3 team, competed in the tier 2 side of the tournament and won four out of six very close games – two of those in OT and two in a shootout.
The team won two of their three round robin games to make it to the quarter final, where they lost 4-3 to the Vancouver Thunderbirds. That put them in the relegation pool where they won both games, including the final.
“We weren’t expected to do well down there,” said assistant coach Kevin Kennedy. “We’re a small town, certainly the smallest town represented at this tournament.”
And a couple of injuries and family commitments meant the bench was shorthanded.
“We had defence playing forward, forward playing defence,” he said.
But solid goaltending from Josh Fernandes and Payton Fekete – “they were cool as cucumbers in there” – a tight defensive core and an offence that knew how to attack when necessary helped the team stand out. “Every kid stepped up, played exceptionally well, probably better than they’ve played all year,” said Kennedy, who coaches alongside head coach Doug Richie, Mike Lewis and Gary Lindsay. “It showed us that kids could play through [an] adversary and were able to accept and play well with whatever role we asked them to.”
Mason Richey played particularly well – getting a nod on the tournament’s all-star line and the distinction of being the second highest scorer on Terrace’s side of the tournament.
“Mason Richey was exceptional in overtime in the shootout,” said Kennedy. “He was instrumental in most of our OT and shootout wins. He’s a heck of an athlete.”
The tournament helped Terrace see where they’re at compared to the rest of the province.
“It really showed us that going into the rest of the season and into zones, that we’re able to compete. And we’re able to compete with all 16 kids on our roster,” he said. “Pretty good to know we can compete at that level.”