The final two hockey teams played against each other in the Ryan D. Sobiech Memorial Carolina Hockey League Tournament in mid-March at Cleland Ice Rink.The Junior FireAntz Peewee Team beat the Pineville Falcons in what was a very close championship game.
The FireAntz were off to a slow start at the beginning of the game but the tables turned in the third period.
“I told the team we needed to get a goal and the momentum would change,” said Douglas Cote, a retired major and Junior FireAntz Peewee Team coach.
The coach’s inspiring words to the team of 11 and 12 year olds was enough to motivate the players into scoring two goals. Luc Cote and Jacob Mennes scored the two goals that would take the FireAntz into overtime.
“Going into the game, we knew Pineville was a good team. We had close games with them during the regular season,” Cote said.
“The coaches did all they could to emphasize that the game was winnable.”
The overtime session ended with neither team scoring which took the game into a one-on-one, three player shootout against the goalies.
Devin Maddox, the FireAntz goalie, stopped all three shots from the Falcons.
The FireAntz took the win when Carson Shultde scored as the third shooter in the shootout.
“I wasn’t leaving this rink without a win!” said Shultde.
Fifteen of the 17 players on the Fire Antz team are from military Families who juggle their busy schedules and deployments to make practices and attend games, said Cote
“It was the most exciting way you could win a championship,” said Cote. “We have some great kids who worked hard during practices all season and are fortunate to have some very qualified coaches.”
Cote also appreciated the support they got from staff members of the Cleland Ice Rink.
“Having the ice rink at Cleland is a huge asset. It is the only way we can offer hockey to military Families,” he said.