GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – The Northeast BC/Yukon Trackers stunned even themselves this past weekend, after placing 2nd against the other four teams in the NAMHL’s Bouchier Division playoff tournament.
The Trackers finished the regular season in 3rd place in their division, ten points behind the second place Peace River Royals, who were the third best team in the NAMHL. Northeast BC took to the ice against the Fort McMurray Midget Oil Barons first on Friday morning. After Fort Mac took a 1-0 lead in the first period, the Trackers bounced back in the second period. Connor Bowie tied things up with an unassisted tally just before the five minute mark of period number two. Bowie also assisted on the eventual game winner in the third scored by Jayden Piket 1:36 left to play. Cooper Beamish tallied the other assist on the game winning goal.
That afternoon, the Trackers headed back to the rink to face the Royals. Connor Bowie gave the Trackers a brief 1-0 lead late in the first, assisted by Logan Kimmie before Peace River tied things up a minute later. Though the Royals score again, Jeridyn Loewen evened things up for Northeast BC with 1:30 left in the second frame. Unfortunately the Royals would add another and shut the door in the third to take the win 3-2.
The next morning, Northeast BC would bounce back against the top-ranked team in the Rural Conference. Connor Bowie, Jayden Piket, Connor Kindrat, and Nick Vanderploeg would all score goals in Saturday morning’s game against the Whitecourt Wolverines, while Whitecourt only managed to get a single puck past Brandon Clark. Kindrat also added a pair of assists, while other helpers came from Bowie, Cayden Frenett, and Ethan Lindberg. The win won the Trackers the right to play in the semi-final against the Grande Prairie Athletic Club, while Whitecourt and Peace River, after dominating the regular season, ended up playing for 3rd in the playoffs.
On Saturday evening, the Trackers came back from a 1-0 deficit against Grande Prairie in the second. Jayden Piket tied things up eight minutes into the second period, assisted by Nick Vanderploeg. Jeridyn Loewen gave Northeast BC the lead with a power play goal two minutes later, assisted by Vanderploeg and Lindberg. Connor Kindrat gave the Trackers some insurance with 6:04 in the second period, assisted by Piket and Curtis Hammond. The Trackers closed the net on Grande Prairie 3-1 to earn themselves a berth in the final against none other than the Athletic Club.
On Sunday, it was sadly Grande Prairie that would win the rematch. Connor Bowie scored twice, assisted twice by Aiden Craig-Steele, and once each by Curtis Hammond and Connor Kindrat as Grande Prairie won 4-2 to earn themselves a trip to Alberta provincials.
Despite the loss, the Trackers themselves will also be headed to BC Hockey Midget Tier 1 Provincials, which take place in Prince George March 19th – 24th.