It’s not the league championship and it’s not a provincial gold, but a bronze medal victory over the North Vancouver Wolf Pack was still a sweet way to end the hockey season for the Mission Outlaws.
The Outlaws dominated the Wolf Pack in their final game of the season, shutting out their rivals 7-0 to claim the bronze medal at the Cyclone Taylor Cup, B.C. championship tournament.
Mission finished the round-robin portion of the event with a 1-2 record – losing a 2-1 decision to the Kimberley Dynamiters, defeating the Wolf Pack 7-6 in a shootout and dropping a 3-2 decision to the Campbell River Storm – good enough for third place in the four team competition.
That set up the bronze medal match with the winless Wolf Pack. Mission and North Vancouver are no strangers to each other, having played a six-game series last month to decide the Pacific Junior League championship. The Wolf Pack won that best of seven series 4-2.
But on Monday it was all Outlaws. Bryce Pisiak scored two goals for Mission with singles going to Nicholas Thompson, Hayden Mowbray, Joshua Pollock, Erick Miller and Kyle Lennea.
Goaltender Bryce Phenix picked up the shutout and was named team MVP.
“That was crazy. We’ve played them (North Vancouver) eight times now in the last three weeks. I guess we’ve gotten to know each other pretty good. It’s a battle every game out there. It’s great,” said Phenix.
“It still hurts that we didn’t take the league final, but coming into this game we definitely wanted to get some redemption for sure and it feels really good right now,” he added.
Phenix is one of only two Outlaws who are graduating from the club this season.
“I live in Mission. It’s my home town. I’ve been here all my life so it’s probably the best way to end it, other than winning gold, but this is pretty good too.”
Outlaws head coach Brad Veitch said he was feeling “quite satisfied” with the Outlaws season, adding he was happy with the effort his players put in during the tournament and the playoffs.
“We wanted to win it all, but I think the bigger thing was the commitment and the effort level that we did get in the pursuit of it,” said Veitch,.
“You can’t fault these guys for effort and that’s all you can ask of them. So, I’m happy with that.”
The coach said, other than the bronze medal game, the entire tournament was tough, tight-checking and goals were hard to come by.
And with the gold medal out of reach, the Outaws pulled together for the final match.
“The team played for each other. That’s why we were successful.”
Along with Phenix, the Outlaws goaltender, forward Hayden Mowbray is the only other graduating player. That means Veitch will have an experienced team ready to make another run at the provincial title next season.
“These guys this weekend are already talking about training camp next year and how they plan to come in focused and win it all.
“The experience we gained this playoff season and at the Cyclone Taylor Cup itself, when we get there next year we will be prepared,” said Veitch.
In the fight for provincial gold and silver, the Campbell River Storm defeated the Kimberley Dynamiters 6-5 to capture the B.C. title.