Head coach Tyrel Spitzer and his Northern Alberta Xtreme have a profound understanding of what it means to get a second chance.
A day after their apparent elimination from the 12-team event, the Edmonton-based prep school team defeated Yale Academy 3-2 Sunday at Rutland Arena to win the 38th BDO Kelowna International Elite Midget Tournament.
In Saturday night’s semifinal, the Xtreme were blown out 7-1 by the Okanagan Hockey Academy Red team.
But when the OHA team was disqualified for using two ineligible players, the Northern Alberta squad earned a reprieve and was boosted into the final.
OHA Red dressed two players from their OHA White team for the semifinal, contravening tournament rules.
As poorly as his team played a night earlier, Spitzer was happy to see the Xtreme step up and seize the opportunity.
“It was quite the turnaround, that semifinal game, we definitely didn’t deserve to win,” said Spitzer, still somewhat surprised by his team’s good fortune. “In our minds we were on our way home.
“About 20 minutes after (last night’s loss) I was pulled into a room and told there was a disqualification, the next thing you know we’re in the gold medal game.”
“They’re not going to ask how or why it happened,” added Spitzer, “they’re going to see a trophy on your desk. It’s just good that we took advantage of the situation.”
In Sunday’s final, Cole Basnett’s goal at 3:14 of the third period stood up as the winner for Northern Alberta.
Kelowna minor hockey product Alex Swetlikoff, who was named a BDO division tournament all-star, had an assist in the loss for Yale.
Okanagan Rockets’ defenceman Wyatt Head was named to the Coast Capri all-star team.
Head and the BCMML’s Rockets went 4-2 at the tournament, losing 5-3 to Yale in Saturday night’s semifinals.
The host Kelowna Fripp Warehousing Rockets went 1-4 at the tournament, closing it out with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Burlington Eagles.