West Hants Warriors provincial champs
WEST HANTS, N.S. – It was a textbook end to a picture-perfect season for the West Hants Warriors AA Atom.
YARMOUTH, N.S. – The Wades Wire Traps Five Star Roofing Bantam AA Mariners came as close as they possibly could have to advancing to the championship game of hockey provincials in Glace Bay over the weekend.
The team, playing the Acadia Axemen in a semi-final on Sunday morning, battled their way to a nail-bitter finish, losing in a shootout that followed a scoreless double overtime.
As a result Acadia advanced to the April 9 provincials championship with the 3-2 win. In that game the Axemen defeated the host Glace Bay 7-1 for the provincials title.
Yarmouth Mariners head coach Nick Bourque says he was extremely proud of his players, both for their season and their provincials run, especially given that the team had just three returning players from last year.
"It was definitely a successful season. Coming from maybe not playing bantam AA to being in the semi-finals of provincials, to me it was definitely a success story, even though it wasn't the storybook ending we hoped for," said Bourque. "We had a great season, great parents, great kids. It was remarkable from a coaching standpoint."
Acadia and Yarmouth had both advanced to provincials during the Bantam AA Mainland League Tournament that Yarmouth had hosted in early March. Yarmouth opened its four-day provincials tournament with a 2-0 win over Cape Breton West, and followed that up with a 6-2 victory over Chebucto.
In its round robin meeting with Acadia the Axemen edged out Yarmouth 3-1. Yarmouth later fell to Cole Habour 5-1.
Cole Harbour lost 3-1 to Glace Bay in the other semi-final of the tournament.
During the Hockey Nova Scotia provincials tournament player of the game awards were handed out. Evan Saulnier and Hayden Young were awarded three each. Zach D'Arcy and Liam Campbell were each awarded two. Evan Saulnier was also named to the First All-Star Team as a defencemen.
While the Mariners team didn’t bring home the provincials championship banner, the team was presented with the Hockey Nova Scotia Fair Play Award at the tournament banquet. That award exemplifies respect and good sportsmanship on the ice.
OTHER PROVINCIALS PLAY
Another bantam team from Yarmouth also chased a provincial title over the weekend, coming extremely close to capturing it.
The Captains Choice Trucking Bantam B Mariners played the Dartmouth Whalers during the Hockey Nova Scotia RBC Day of Champions held at the LCLC in Bridgewater on April 8.
The Whalers defeated the Mariners 5-4 in overtime. The Captains Choice Bantam B Mariners received the silver medal for coming in 2nd amongst the bantam B teams in the province.
There are no provincials tournaments below the AA and AAA minor hockey level in the province. Instead, teams play a number of playdown series with the final two top teams playing a one game provincial championship game during the Day of Champions.