Winning year for Alberni’s wily Coyotes

If you measure the success of a hockey team by wins, then this team has achieved it. If you measure the success instead by excitement and entertainment, the GD Auto Bantam Coyotes also qualify.

Their season record 23-1-1 was remarkable considering this team is a mix of seasoned and skilled players, newcomers, and latecomers still learning the skills of the game, a team spokesperson said.

“It is always a challenge bringing a group like this together,” says coach Dave Beecroft.

“There were days when I scratched my head.”

The team stuck together and was undefeated in the regular season. Their first major victory of the season was winning gold at the Cowichan Valley Christmas 16-team tournament. The gold medal game was played against a team from South Delta, a game that went end to end until a lone goal was scored by the Coyotes.

The second major accolade was winning the Mid Island Bantam League banner with a 13-0-1 record. The Coyotes then breezed through the playoffs and faced a team from Oceanside for the Mid Island championship banner.

The game saw Oceanside jump to a 3-0 lead after only six minutes of play. The Coyotes finally scored with a minute left in the second period. After the second period intermission the Coyotes came out flying and scored two quick goals and added two more making the final score 5-3 in their favour.

This past weekend the boys played in the 14-team Comox Valley Spring Break tournament. They won all three round robin games and played a team from Aldergrove in the gold medal game. Aldergrove scored two goals in the first period and the Coyotes scored a single in the second period.

The third period saw the team trailing 2-1 with 1:19 left to play. Beecroft pulled  goalie Jake Anderson to give the team a man advantage. The clock was running down and with only 15 seconds left in the game the Coyotes scored and headed to overtime.

The sudden death overtime period was short as Aldergrove scored the winner.

This was the first loss for the Coyotes this season and gave them silver medals to take home.

“I am so proud of the boys” Beecroft said. “They played with heart and determination and reached success on many levels.”