Grand Forks Atom hockey coaches pleased with team efforts in playoffs

Playoffs for local Atom hockey took place this past weekend in Grand Forks and Midway with teams from Grand Forks taking part.

Jack Sawyer and the Grand Forks Grizzlies took part in Atom hockey playoffs that took place in Midway and Grand Forks this past weekend.

Jack Sawyer and the Grand Forks Grizzlies took part in Atom hockey playoffs that took place in Midway and Grand Forks this past weekend.

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.