Drake Smallman scored the game-winning goal Sunday as the Western Regals defeated the Saint John, N.B., Warriors 4-3 to claim the midget AAA division of the 39th annual Source for Sports Spud Minor Hockey Tournament.
“It feels unbelievable,” the 16-year-old defenceman from O’Leary said.
Jeff Gaudet got the puck back to the blue-line and Smallman did the rest with just under eight minutes remaining in the third period.
“I hit it as hard as I could and it went right in,” Smallman said. “I was so pumped.”
T.J. Shea gave the Regals a 3-2 lead with an unassisted goal with 13:17 left in the third. Matt Fudge scored his second of the game for Saint John two minutes later to tie the contest following some miscommunication behind the Regals’ net.
“I felt pretty down, but I knew the boys were going to get one back,” goalie Avery Aresnault said. “We needed one more and I knew they were going to get it.”
Saint John continued pushing late in the game to get the equalizer.
With 1:30 left Arsenault smothered a puck at the top of his crease.
“I just knew the puck wasn’t in the back of my net and it felt great,” said Arsenault, a 16-year-old from Tignish.
Brendan Smith and Brendan Shea also scored for the Regals while Nathan Handrahan, Brett Aylward and Jake Arsenault had assists.
Michael Roscoe had the other goal for Saint John while Gregor Holt had three assists and Adam Simon two.
Arsenault said the victory was a team effort.
“We came together in the third period and scored two goals,” he said. “Everybody worked together. Everybody stayed positive. It’s just a hell of a feeling.”
The Charlottetown Abbies refused to loose Sunday, winning the atom AAA final 2-1 over the Lancaster Thunder.
Matthew McQuaid’s power-play goal tied it with 6:22 left and Ben Willis won it with 4:15 to play.
“Full credit to the players, they really believed they could come back,” Abbies coach Jeff Squires said. “They left it all on the ice for those last 10 minutes.”
The Abbies had won their quarter-final and semifinal games in overtime.
“I think the Spud is the tournament the kids all look forward to throughout the year,” Squires said.
It is the first time since 2001 the Abbies have won the atom division of the Spud.
Jacob Stewart scored a pair of goals to lead the Antigonish Bulldogs to a 3-2 victory over the Moncton Hawks.
Jack Morris also scored in the victory while assists went to Darren Waterman and Sean Stewart.
Aiden MacIntosh scored two unassisted goals for Moncton.
The game was tied 1-1 after the first while Antigonish led 3-2 after two periods of play.
The Fredericton Canadiens defeated the Sénateurs Péninsule Acadienne 7-4.
The Charlottetown Abbies defeated the North River Flames 5-1.