It wasn’t quite the happy new year the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs were hoping for.
Just like Canada's junior national team, the Burnaby-based Major Midget team that features several players from Burnaby and New West lost its quarter-final game at the prestigious Mac’s Midget AAA hockey tournament in Calgary to the New York Jr. Islanders, 4-3, on Monday.
The Chiefs, who play in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, took a 2-0 lead in the first period with Port Moody’s Ryan Tattle opening the scoring on the power play.
They then extended their advantage to 3-0 in a penalty-filled second period before the Jr. Islanders got one goal back as time was winding down. The Jr. Islanders were assessed 22 minutes in penalties in the frame, while Vancouver players served 14 minutes in the box.
The Jr. Islanders scored on a power play of their own to cut their deficit to 3-2 then tied it when the teams were playing at even strength. The teams appeared headed to overtime when New York’s Jake Lanyi scored the game winner with just 11 seconds left in regulation time.
The Chiefs finished pool play with two wins, a tie and a loss to reach the playoffs of the 25-team tournament.
After opening with a 6-0 loss to the Okotoks Bow Mark Oilers, the Northeast Chiefs rebounded with an 8-6 win over the Calgary Buffaloes and a 4-3 victory over the St. Albert Raiders — the tournament’s eventual champions.
The Chiefs closed out round-robin play with a 4-4 tie against the Regina Pat Canadians, and finished second in its five-team pool.
In addition to his goal in the quarter-final, Tattle scored once and added four assists in round-robin play. Coquitlam Express affiliate players Logan Kurki scored five times in the tournament and New Westminster’s Dante Ballarin added three more, while James Bohn counted three assists.
Coquitlam’s Quinton Hill scored twice and added two assists and Dylan Wilson also scored. Port Moody’s Christian Lowe had two points in the tournament.
The Chiefs are currently in third place in the BCMML standings.