Above: The Mustangs are ready to hit the ice Monday night at home to earn their spot in this year’s provincials.
by Stephen Dafoe
After 60 years of hockey in Morinville, Monday night will see the last provincial playdown game played at the Ray McDonald Sports Center.
The Sturgeon Hockey Club Atom 1 Mustangs will play Drayton Valley in the Zone Championship Game at 5:45 p.m.
“Provincials are going really good for us so far. We are in the Atom AA minor division which is a strong division,” said Atom Rep Coach Scott Richardson. : Our team is 15-0-1 in the league, so for us playing Atom AA minor was a bit of change of pace with some strong competition. I think our team has been playing good hockey, but we got our selves in a bit of a hole going into the game.”
Richardson said provincials are based on a two-game total points score. Currently, the Mustangs are down 8-3.
“We will have to outscore Drayton Valley on Monday’s game by 5. I,” Richardson explained. “Definitely think we can crawl out of this hole but we will need all the kids going! Our first game against Drayton Valley was in their barn now they have to come to ours! The first game was a spirited battle which saw us get 24 minutes in penalties to their 6 minutes. The majority of those penalties came in the last 30 minutes of the game. The referees seemed to favour the home team a bit, not saying that we didn’t deserve our penalties but I definitely think Drayton Valley could have had more than 6 minutes. With that being said, we need to stay out of the box if we are going to win the series. If we win, the provincial tournament is in Calgary this year, so there is a bit of incentive for the boys to win.”
Richardson, the team, and Sturgeon Hockey Club are hoping people will come out to cheer the young players on.
“This will be an exciting game with two talented [teams] batting for a spot to go to provincials,” he said. “The kids are 9-10 years old and this is as big as a game as it gets for kids this age. It’s free of charge so a great event to bring the whole family to. For the younger audience, it’s a good look at where they can strive to be at that age and for the older to see the rising talent in town! We have some talented players who have some bright futures.”
The battle on ice takes place Monday, Feb. 11 at 5:45 p.m.