Avalanche 14U takes home tourney banner

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The Glacier Avalanche 14U Bantam boys hockey team includes, first row: Gates Gilman; second row, Trent Schaefer, Benjamin Rainford, Calder Townsley, Max Kowalka, Zack Dunnagan, Zane McCallum and Darby McCarthy; third row, Assistant Coach Josh Townsley, Joshua Nelson, Carver VanAken, James Thompson, Coach Maxl Smith, Seth Roskos, Finnegan Davidson and Mason Rediger. (Photo Courtesy of Trevor Schaefer)

The Glacier Avalanche 14U Bantam boys hockey team captured the Canadian East Kootenay Minor Hockey Associationís year-end Banner Tournament championship, defeating four Canadian teams in tournament play. The Avalanche entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed, finishing the seasonís league play undefeated with a 10-0 record.

Glacier won a dramatic, hard fought championship game 7-5 versus the Cranbrook Hornets as the Avalanche trailed the Hornets much of the game. The Hornets dominated play early, scoring first just two minutes and then eight minutes into the game for a quick 2-0 lead. The teams then exchanged goals finishing the first period with a 3-1 Hornets lead. The Avalanche came back strong in the second period with two goals to even the game 3-3.

In the final period, the Avalanche scored two minutes into the period to gain their first advantage 4-3. The lead lasted just five minutes as the Hornets tallied the equalizer followed by a go-ahead goal two minutes later, recapturing a 5-4 lead. The Hornetsí advantage lasted deep into period but Glacier battled back to even the game 5-5 with five minutes remaining, scoring the equalizer on a rebound off the Hornetsí goalie. The Avalanche scored the go-ahead and eventual game winning goal with three minutes remaining on a shot from the point tipped in past the goalie to lead 6-5.

With two minutes remaining, the Avalanche goalie made a key save on a furious Hornets rush and close-in shot to preserve the lead. The Avalanche sealed the victory and league championship scoring a long shot from the defensive zone into the Hornetsí empty net with 30 seconds left. Glacier ended the game with 28 saves while putting 42 shots on the Hornetsí net.

Earlier in the tournament, Glacier defeated the Creston Chiefs 6-1, Fernie Ghostriders 3-1 and Windermere Valley Rockies 12-0 to reach the championship game.

The Glacier Avalanche get to hang the coveted banner that announces them as the No. 1 team of the season in the Stumptown Ice Den. They are currently undefeated with a record of 38-0-1. The team heads to Bozeman to play for the state championship March 9-11.

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