The NSWC Midget A1s were turned downed when the team originally applied for entry into this year’s edition of the Richmond International Midget Tournament, back in September.
But a last minute cancellation by a US AAA team created an opening, and after posting a very strong regular season record, the team was invited to fill in the gap in the tournament’s top Major Midget division.
Seven games later the team had demonstrated they can play with all of the top teams in the division.
The Hawks shut out Yale Academy 3-0 in the round robin before meeting them again in the semi-final game, where this time the Hawks were on the losing end of a 5-1 decision. The outcome of the semi was heavily influenced by the 62 minutes in penalties the Winterhawks were handed, vs 18 minutes against in the game they won.
The Winterhawks also faced the Golden State Elite Eagles U18 twice, losing both games by narrow one goal margins, first in the round robin and then in the seventh bronze medal game.
They dropped a third one goal game, to California Wave U16 AAA, 5-4 in the round robin.
The team’s only so-so game was a 4-1 loss to the Alaska Jr. Aces AAA, which was their fourth game of the tournament.
A highlight of the tournament for the Hawks was the crossover quarter final game against first place San Diego Jr. Gulls U16 AAA, a thriller which the Hawks won in a shootout, 4-3.
The win set up the rematch with Yale, who had defeated Alaska Aces 3-2 in their quarter final.
The Yale Academy were eventual tournament winners, defeating North Island Silvertips in the final, 8-1, in another penalty filled affair (37 min for Tips vs 6 for Yale). Yale is currently in second place in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League with a record of 11-3-2, 64 GF vs 31GA.
Brett Andrews lead the Winterhawks offensively with 3G and 4A. Spencer McLeod was 3G 2A, Alex Uryga was 3-1, while Christian Cullen was 2-2 and Trevor Wilson had 4 assists.
Goalies were solid throughout, with rookie Cole Demers, posting a 1-2 record, 9 GA and shutout, and vet Johnnie Donohoe with the extra game, a 1-3 record, 15 GA.
The Winterhawks are off to a previously planned tournament in Cowichan this coming weekend.