Having dominated most of their season, the Terrace Peewee rep team is blazing toward zones here with energy and confidence.
They’ve excelled in the north and demolished the other teams at the Terrace Cliff Sharples Memorial Tournament last October.
Early last December, they claimed gold in a tier two tournament in Prince George, one level up from their normal division.
After sweeping all but one game in the round robin, and beating Williams Lake in the semi-final, they faced Prince George in the final match — the only team they’d lost to in the tournament so far.
Terrace was losing 0-1 halfway through the second period, but were outshooting their Prince George opponents significantly, recalls coach Brad Andersen.
About halfway through the game, Terrace buried their first goal and they launched an all out domination from there — possessing the puck nearly straight until the buzzer.
“We ended up outshooting them 20-2 in the second period,” Andersen said. “We outshot them in that first period… just couldn’t score… then once we got the first [goal], they came easy.”
Terrace claimed the victory 5-1 to take the tournament gold.
In early January, the team played their second big tier two tournament, earning silver in Quesnel.
Even though they lost 0-10 in the final game to the very strong Kamloops team, Andersen says the Terrace Peewees played very well in the tournament.
They beat Fort St. John and 100 Mile House, and claimed a big comeback against Quesnel in the semi-final game.
Terrace was down by three points early in the third period, trailing Quesnel 2-5.
But again, they executed a strong switchback and managed to bury four goals to claim the win 6-5.
Andersen says the Terrace Peewees have definitely improved over the season.
“Our breakout is getting getter, and our puck control in the neutral zone is definitely getting better,” he said.
“We’ve definitely been outshooting our opponents,” he added, noting that the team is solid all the way around, but especially skilled at passing and moving the puck.
“When we’re passing the pack, we’re a hard team to play against,” Anderson said.
Assistant coach Mitch Shinde agreed. “The season has been awesome so far,” he said, adding that hard work has paid off but it hasn’t been easy…. Rep hockey is very demanding in terms of time practicing, playing, training, traveling and fund raising,” Shinde commented.
Still, though the team is on the road a lot, scribbling through homework on the bus and working hard during the weekday practices, Shinde says they’ve developed their skills dramatically.
Team structure has come a long way and players are starting to maneuver with higher level tactics, he said, adding that speed is often their big advantage in games.
“As is the case with most teams at any level, we would like to work on being a little more consistent,” Shinde concluded. “Overall the kids should be proud of the strides they’ve made thus far, but the biggest challenge lies ahead.”
The Terrace Peewees are now gearing up for a best-of-three zone series against Smithers here in Terrace Feb. 25-26. Terrace has solidly overcome Smithers in earlier games this season, “but you never know what can happen” come zones, said Anderson.
The team hopes to win so that they can advance to provincials in Dawson Creek on March 19-23.