The Lakeside Printing Salmon Arm Midget Royals skated to victory in Nakusp this weekend, winning gold in a six-team tournament and showing a tremendous all-team effort with many players gaining points, setting up plays and tirelessly defending their net.
After besting Nakusp in their Friday afternoon game, the Royals tied Kelowna 1-1 in morning pool play, then won over West Kelowna 8-5 in another very close game where they traded goals until well into the third period. Sunday’s semi-final game was another nail-biter against a Calgary team who had braved road closures and a 15-hour bus ride to participate in the tournament, and bounced back from a tough delayed Friday night game to reach the semi’s.
Sunday’s final brought the team up against Kelowna again, and this time the Royals were determined to break that tie. Scoring started in the first period with defenceman Austin Phillips (“Philly”) driving it in from the blue line unassisted. Early in the second period Kelowna tied it up, but Salmon Arm answered back quickly as Cole Stockbruegger hammered it in at close range, placed by Connor McKee. The Royals scored two more in the second, with Philly scoring again, assisted by Reid Parlby and Blake McBeth, and a beauty play with brothers Carter and Matt Campbell funnelling it to McKee in front of the net for goal number four.
Kelowna hammered back with two goals in the third period to create a 4-3 situation, leaving Royals fans again biting their nails and cheering wildly in the stands. All were relieved when McBeth grabbed the puck in the Royals end and skated through the crowd to slam the fifth and final goal into the Kelowna net. Salmon Arm hung tough to protect the net and goalie Kaiden Viik as Kelowna pulled their goalie, and the buzzer finally sounded, signalling a win due to great team effort.