After winning Regina’s 21st annual PeeWee AA Classic Tournament, history will remember the 2012-13 Sherring Gold AA Terriers as one of the best Yorkton-based peewee hockey teams of all time.
“I think this group is definitely one of the bumper years of players,” says Terriers head coach Chad Korczak. “They are not only pretty skilled, but they work hard together as a team.”
To put into perspective how tough it is to win the tourney – the 12-13 Terriers are the first Yorkton club to win it since Los Angeles Kings star Jarret Stoll lead his peewee squad to victory 17 years ago.
“I’m not sure if we have had a team there every year since the Stoll days, but it’s nice to end that drought,” adds Korczak. “It’s a very big tournament and it takes the right group of kids to win it.”
The 32-team tourney included the top peewee hockey teams in Western Canada such as the cream of the crop from Winnipeg, Edmonton, and of course, Regina.
The Terriers went into the tourney, which has featured NHL stars such as Jay Bouwmeester, Jordan Eberle, and Devin Setoguchi, with a red-hot track record. They recently came off laying a beat down on Estevan in games one and two of their Provincial Playdowns, outscoring them 13-1. Not to mention, they maintained an undefeated 16-0 record in the South Saskatchewan Hockey League.
Yorkton kicked off the tourney by dominating their pool play. They beat the Regina Sabres 11-3; Prince Albert Raiders 7-2; Foothills Bisons 9-4.
After finishing first in their pool, the Terriers advanced to the A-side championship.
Their quarterfinal contest was against one of the top teams in Northern Alberta – the Beaumont Braves.
Despite the Braves being a quick and well-rounded squad, the Terriers caught them off guard early, potting four quick goals. But Beaumont wouldn’t say die after falling behind. The Braves stormed back in the latter half of the game, tying it up at four apiece. The Terriers refocused after the blown lead, going on to win 6-5.
The huge victory advanced the Terriers onto the semi-final game against the Winnipeg Railcats, a club known for its strong defensive style with an uncanny track record. The Railcats outscored their opponents 34-4 in their first four games. Not to mention, they made it to the final in the prestigious Quebec International PeeWee Tournament last year.
There was a clear-cut age difference in the Terriers-Railcats match. Yorkton’s club has six first-year players and 10 second-years; Winnipeg’s team was completely second-year players.
“The Terriers knew they needed everyone to step up their game to compete with the Railcats,” says Terriers team manager Brent Repsch on the age difference.
The energy in the rink was electric as soon as the puck was dropped.
Despite the opening twenty minutes being full of fast-pace back-and-forth action, the game remained scoreless heading into the first intermission.
Yorkton broke the ice early in the second on the man advantage. It was, however, short lived as Winnipeg knotted two markers shortly after to put the Railcats up 2-1 heading into the final period.
The Terriers got the ball rolling early in the third, netting two quick goals to take a 3-2 lead. The latter half of the period went back and forth, ending in a 5-3 Yorkton win.
“The win was a huge accomplishment for the team, and definitely the Terriers’ biggest win of the season,” says Repsch. “The first year players gained a great amount of confidence showing that they were able to compete with one of the best teams in Western Canada.”
In the A-side final, the Terriers squared off against the NWZ Renegades, one of the top Edmonton-based teams.
The Terriers had somewhat of a hometown advantage in the game because the majority of spectators were hoping for Yorkton to keep the trophy in Saskatchewan.
It was an exciting atmosphere for the young hockey players. They were all introduced underneath a spotlight as they skated onto the ice and lined up for the national anthem.
“It got everyone excited for the game,” notes Korczak on the introduction of the players.
The Terriers swung the momentum in their favour early in the match after killing a five-on-three penalty. They went on to outshoot the Renegades by roughly double in the opening period, but they couldn’t light the lamp.
The Terriers potted the first goal of the game in the second, beating a very hot Edmonton goaltender.
Yorkton took over the contest in the final period, going to win 4-1 over the Renegades in the championship game.
Winning the Regina PeeWee AA Classic Tournament is especially sweet for the Terriers with him falling short in the final game the year before against the Langley Peewee Eagles.
“One of the our goals at the beginning of the year was to capture the Regina title, so they had their sights set on the championship trophy from the opening faceoff,” adds Repsch.