Alumni Jets lose close one to CFCW Critters

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Some vintage Jets took to the ice Thursday night to square off against the visiting CFCW Critters. Despite the fact many of the Jet alumni hadn’t played for the club since M.C. Hammer danced in baggy pants, the largely fossilized Jets came within two goals of tying the game with the highly skilled fundraising hockey club.

Although the Jets were even with the Critters in scoring opportunities at 44 shots apiece, the Jets struggled early in the game to get anything past the Critters’ goalie. When Brad Hooper opened scoring for the Jets late in the first frame, he was brought to centre ice for a special award, a pie in the face. While such obscure customs are foreign in Morinville and surrounding area, it is important to remember the CFCW Critters are a club that has been to Europe.

The first period ended 6-2 in the Critters’ favour. It seemed almost like the puck was tied to the Critters’ sticks and in one case it literally was. One of the periods most impressive goals occurred when the Critter broke away with a puck tethered to his stick, affording the Jets no opportunity to do anything but watch it ripple the back of their mesh, then bounce back out of the net on it’s elastic cord.

The second period was a much better effort for the Jets, who managed to pick up another five goals during the frame. However, an infraction that sent all five skaters to the penalty box resulted in the Jets backstop standing alone in defending the crease against a five-man advantage, certainly a first in Morinville hockey history. Despite a valiant effort to block what the Critters sent his way, one got past his pads to give the Critters their 10th goal of the game.

The Jets entered the final frame trailing the Critters 13-7 and played the first few minutes of the final frame blind, each of the skaters blindfolded and scrambling to find a jingling puck. With such impressive odds in the Critters’ favour, the club’s goalie covered his net with a “Back in Five minutes” sign and paid little attention to the Jets manoeuvres on the ice.

But if the Jets felt the heat on them, it was soon cooled off when a penalized Critter decided to chase the referee around the ice with a bucket of water which he threw on the Jets bench, dampening their spirits figuratively and literally.

Although the Critters defeated the Alumni Jets 15-13, alumni coach Dan Blackburn said he was pleased with how his team played Thursday night.

“I think the Jets played an awesome game, but the Critters were a little bit better,” Blackburn said. “But I’ve got to say, I think the ref was on their side.”

Although Blackburn declined to say the Critters engaged in cheating he admitted the club had some crafty methods to secure a victory.

“They’ve got a lot of tricks up their sleeves,” he said. “We did the best we could, but we just came up short.”

But while the Jets may have come up short, Morinvillians and the Morinville Mavericks FunTeam Hockey benefitted from the time and talents of the CFCW Critters and the many people in Morinville who helped put the fundraising event together.

The evening’s hockey entertainment was a fundraiser for the Mavericks, who offer an alternative to the minor hockey program for Morinville families. In addition to raising money through admissions, the event had a 50/50 draw and successful silent auction that included a complete furnace package that went for just short of $10,000. The Mavericks split the proceeds from the silent auction with École Georges P. Vanier School, who are raising funds for some new playground equipment.

$13,364 was raised at the event and the Critters have raised $37,600 so far this year and $548,900 throughout their existence.

The Morinville stop was the CFCW Critters eighth game of ten on their 2010-2011 Goodwill Tour.

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