Playoffs for local Atom hockey took place this past weekend in Grand Forks and Midway with players from two teams from the area taking part.
The Grand Forks Atom 2 Bruins opened play against Nelson at home on Friday, losing 7-2. They played an exiting game on Saturday morning, skating to a 4-4 tie against Boundary in Grand Forks before beating the Greater Trail 3 team 6-3 in Midway.
In terms of the 6-3 win, it was a must-win, head coach Craig MacLellan explained.
“It was a game we had to win. We were in a situation where a tie wouldn’t have done us any good, so we needed to win,” he said.
The team lost 11-8 to Boundary in Midway in the semifinals on Sunday.
“I thought the team played amazing,”
MacLellan of his team’s play throughout the playoffs. “It was just a total team effort, it was awesome. No one player in particular stood out. It was a gritty team effort.”
The Grand Forks Grizzlies also took part in the playoffs, beginning play with a 6-4 loss to Kaslo in Midway on Friday. They lost a close one to Greater Trail 3 with a final of 5-4 and lost another close one to Nakusp by a final of 10-8 in Grand Forks.
Kevin Sawyer, coach of the Grizzlies, was also pleased with this team’s play.
“We’ve worked towards playing as a team all year long and I think we were outstanding. The players really gelled as a team. We have a game plan, we have system and they stuck to it and I was so proud of them; they worked really hard,” Sawyer said.
And like MacLellan, Sawyer said it was hard to single out players that stood out.
“I really can’t (pick a player). Everybody pitched in in their own way and that’s kind of what makes us so special,” Sawyer explained. “We play together as such a team that it’s hard to pick one person that does stand out.”
While the team played two out of its three away from Grand Forks Arena, Sawyer said it wasn’t a detriment to the team.
“Both Atom teams had to practice at 6:30 a.m. on Monday for half of the season, so that means the kids were up out of bed at 5:15 a.m. They were on the ice early and they’ve played tired and they’ve kind of learned that. I think it’s toughened them up a bit, so travelling to Midway didn’t hurt in any way at all,” he said.
“I thought we played with a lot of energy and played together as a team, which is kind of our identity. We really play a team system,” Sawyer went on to say.