FORT ST JOHN, BC- The Northeast BC/Yukon Trackers earned themselves hardware after shutting out the East Kootenay team early today in their final game at the 2018 BC Tier 1 Midget Hockey Provincials.
Fresh into the first period at 14:27, Nick Loewen dangled past the opposition to sneak the puck into the net with the assistance of Logan Kimmie and Nathan Brownlee. The Trackers put their heads down and locked the East Kootenays out of any goal contention.
Heading into the second with the Trackers leading at 1-0, the boys kicked the intensity up a level. Aiden Craig-Steele scored his first goal of the night with the help of John Herrington and Connor Kindrat. The trio passed the puck around the Kootenay team to have Craig-Steel drive the puck into the top left corner of the net.
Trackers continued to perform strong plays resulting in Curtis Hammond merely thirty seconds later scoring once again. The stunning goal featured the assistance of Connor Kindrat as he passed the puck up ice into the left faceoff circle followed by Aiden Craig-Steele slamming the puck to Hammond, who then dropped it into the net.
Hammond continued his reign as he poured a second goal into the net three minutes later at 6:41. Hammond and Herrington worked together to smoothly pass the puck through traffic and past the goaltender’s slick hands. The duo brought the score to 4-0.
As the puck dropped into period three, the Trackers didn’t tire. 1:32 seconds into the period, Nathan Brownlee and Duncan Ross continued to turn up the thermostat. Ross passed across the back row to Brownlee to avoid interference which was followed by Brownlee stealing a page out of Connor Bowie’s book by using a classic slap shot to seal the deal.
Four minutes later at 5:29, the Devan Minard slammed a loose puck into the net with the assistance of Connor Bowie and Duncan Ross.
With just fifty-three seconds left in the final period Connor Bowie got his first goal of the night with the help of Aiden Craig-Steel.
The Trackers ultimately closed the game at 7-0, entirely shutting out the East Kootenay Team.
A third-year player, Aiden Craig-Steele faced a bittersweet goodbye to his minor hockey career tonight as he will be graduating from high school this spring.
“This year was probably the best hockey season I’ve ever had.It was likely the best because I had amazing teammates, and the whole team had a winning mentality.”
Although Craig-Steele and the rest of the Trackers were disappointed they couldn’t fight for the champion title in the finals tonight; Craig-Steele was still proud of the team’s placement.
“It has been an unreal tournament because so many of us have played together for such a long time and have never even won a game at provincials, yet over the past week we won numerous games and beat both of the teams playing in the finals.”
Craig-Steele sources the current coaching staff on the NEBC Trackers as a fantastic resource and likely as some of the best coaching support he has ever had.
Although Craig-Steele is unsure of where is future will lead him this fall whether it is university or hockey, he hopes the NEBC Trackers can continue to grow and succeed.
Head Coach, Gerard DiCaire was very proud of the team for their hard work.
“We had to win tonight to secure our third-place finish, and the boys went out and did precisely that. Our original goal at the beginning of the season was to win provincials, but we started off the tournament a bit slow. The slow start bit us in the butt in the end, but we still were able to land third place.”
The Northeast BC/Yukon Trackers placed 3rd overall in the 2018 BC Midget Tier 1 Hockey Provincials.
The gold medal game will be tonight, March 23rd at the North Peace Arena between the Prince George Cougars and the Vancouver Thunderbirds. Puck drops at 7:30.