Playing a local tournament against seven other teams, the Princeton Atoms came to play and play they did. Two Kamloops teams, the Abbotsford Barracudas, North Delta Vikings, Merritt, Langley and Port Coquitlam all travelled into town for a showdown. Starting on Friday evening the Princeton Atoms stepped onto the ice to play their first game against Langley. The Langley team was the first to find success. Less than one minute into the game the score was 0-1. Then, in the blink of the eye it was 0-2. This did not deter the local kids one bit. They kept whacking away at the puck and finally at 11:45, Austin O’Neil got a shot off that the Langley goalie could not stop and less than a minute later found another hole in the opponents defense to tie the game. At 8:57 a pass from Markus Brodie to O’Neil had the local favourites in the lead for the first time at 3-2. Before the first period ended Langley tied the game.
Second period put Langley back in the lead early and by 18:01 the score was 3-5. Ten minutes went by before another goal was scored. This time O’Neil made a nice pass to Markus Brodie that brought Princeton to within one. It was a tie game three minutes later. O’Neil passed to Nathan Silbernagel who passed to Carson Thibert and bam it was 5-5. Langley did not give up. They scored, then Markus then Langley. Second period ended at 6-7 Langley. In the third period, Langley got one goal ending the game 6-8. Local boy Markus Brodie was chosen as player of the game for Princeton.
Game 2 – This time Princeton was up against a Lower Mainland team and North Delta let them know early that they meant business scoring at 17:54 into the first period. For ten minutes both teams played hard battling to find the back of the net. North Delta scored to make it 0-2 ant 8:52, but Princeton responded quickly to tie. Austin O’Neil scored the first Princeton goal two minutes later and then a pass from O’Neil to Liam Zieske tied the game.
Period two started with a nice pass from Matt Maynard to O’Neil that found a hot spot up high. Princeton continued their artillery fire with goal by Markus at 7:30 and a pass from O’Neil to Silbernagel at 2:48 that shot in and then, another goal by O’Neil to end the period.
Two more Princeton goals cinched a win for the home team. At 19:18 O’Neil passed to Zieske for a nice zinger. Carson Thibert got the final game goal thanks to a pass from O’Neil. The game ended 8-2. Matt Maynard received the player of the game toque.
Game 3 – Pumped after a win, the small town boys took to the ice with energy and enthusiasm. An O’Neil pass to Markus Brodie started the game in earnest. Eight minutes later Kamloops tied the game. Then, just 42 seconds later Kamloops had turned the tables leading 1-2.
The second period scoring put Kamloops up 1-3. O’Neil brought Princeton within one. Kamloops replied ending the period 2-4.
The third period was a flurry of activity at both ends of the ice. Kamloops got two goals before Princeton came back to within one. At 12:53, a sweet pass from Markus to Zieske got the locals players heart rate up. A minute later, O’Neil kept the pressure on the Kamloops goalie until he found a way through. Two minutes after that Silbernagel gave O’Neil his hat trick. Kamloops was not done yet however. At 8:26 they were up 5-7. A minute later the lead widened to 5-8. The Princeton team battled until the very end and with just 40 seconds left on the clock Markus scored – final score 6-8. Nathan Silbernagel left the ice with the player of the game toque.
Key to the team’s weekend was the defensive play. Quinn Clarke, Grant Yee, Robert McElroy, Cole Harder and Case Brodie were all moving walls for their opponents. They hustled non-stop throughout the weekend. Mason O’Neil came close to scoring many times and was instrumental in the team’s offense and defense. While the youngest player on the team, Mason’s spirit was that of a warrior. Both goalies, Jayden Simon and Jett Larsen, stopped many shots and showed that they had true grit and determination.
“The kids never stopped trying,” said Coach Ryan O’Neil after the last game ended. “They love hockey and it showed over the weekend. I am proud of all of them.”
Sunday morning the local Atom team played their final game of the tournament and pulled off a big win placing third overall in the tournament.
Austin O’Neil got a hat trick in the final game and the final Player of the Game toque for his fantastic play. It was a fast paced game with a lot of full out effort by the Princeton Atoms and a great finish.