After going undefeated in its first four games, the Nelson North Stars took on Grand Forks in Sunday’s final of the Nelson Pee Wee Hockey House Tournament.
While the home team was considered a favourite going into the final, it was Grand Forks that skated way with a 6-3 victory.
Despite the loss, the second place Nelson team should be proud of its accomplishments, according to head coach Dan Bayoff.
“I told them that second place out of 12 teams, there’s nothing to hang their heads about … I told them to hold their heads high.”
He also credited Grand Forks.
“They’ve got a really good team. The two best teams made it to the end and that’s how it normally works,” he said.
According to the coach the local boys gave it a “good shot” but Grand Forks managed to jump out to a lead.
“We got back into it but then we let up on the gas a little bit and they ended up with the win.”
Bayoff knows his squad will see Grand Forks again and believes his team will know what they have to do to play along with them.
The local boys had an easy time with the first three tournament games, beating Kelowna 5-4, Cranbrook 10-8 and Vernon 4-1.
“It was a lot of fun. A lot of teams you meet that we’ve never played before. There’s no history of what type of team they are so you go in blindfolded,” said Bayoff.
But his team made the adjustments needed to win.
“We’ve got a lot of offensive power. We play defensively fairly well. We have some fast skating forwards that can back check hard and we have some who can bury the puck in the net.”
The 3-0 record earned Nelson the top-seed entering the playoff round. The squad took on fourth-seeded Kelowna for the right to play for the title. It was the second meeting between the two teams and Nelson won again, this time by a 4-1 score.
The third seeded Grand Forks team crushed second-seed Trail 8-1 to advance to the final.
Nelson now returns to regular league play, but the coach said there are five more tournaments coming up.
“This was the first tournament for us. We will carry on, do our best and come out on top of the next one. You never know.”