ELK POINT – The first minor hockey tournament of the 2023-24 season started off on Friday evening with a very special event, a Teddy Toss to support Santas Anonymous.
The toss, which included stuffed animals gathered along the Christmas Extravaganza parade route, came with 54 seconds left in the first period, when Braylee Lesyk of the U15 Avalanche sent a shot past the Sherwood Park Thrashers goalie off assists by Wyatt Fontaine and Brendan Kadutski to tie the score at 1-1.
The game was halted while bags of bears and other stuffies came flying out of the players’ box and penalty boxes, a total of 170 in all, which will go a long way toward making sure every child in every family assisted by the Community Lions of Elk Point’s annual Christmas charity will have something soft to cuddle this Christmas.
The Thrashers would tie the game early in the second frame, but were then shut down with two goals by Liam Swedgan and singles by Remington Reynolds and Jaxon Smith off three assists each by Anton Braithwaite and Wyatt Fontaine and one by Braylee Lesyk for a 5-2 Avs win.
A second Avalanche win came on Saturday, with an 8-1 victory over Edmonton’s KC 604 (sorry, game sheet not available), giving Avalanche the tournament’s Pool B win and sending them into Sunday’s playoff round against KC 603, who placed second in Pool A.
An unassisted goal by Braylee Lesyk and a goal by Anton Braithwaite assisted by Remington Reynolds put the Avs on the board with two in the first period to take a 2-0 lead, Brendan Kadutski scoring unassisted in the second and assisted by Remington Reynolds and Braylee Lesyk in the third to edge out the Edmonton team 4-3, sending Avalanche to the final.
The CR Knights, who had defeated Bonnyville Pontiacs 9-2 and KC 603 9-0 in Pool A action and defeated KC 604 in the playoff rounds, were still not ready to give up their weekend series of big wins. The final game of the tournament saw just one Avalanche goal, scored by Braylee Lesyk off an assist by Wyatt Fontaine, make it past the Knights’ goalie, while that goalie’s teammates pounded in nine shots for a one-sided victory, making this final game Avalanche’s only loss of the weekend and placing the home team second overall..
This coming weekend, it will be the U11 Avalanche who will host another exciting tournament. Make sure to come on down to the A. G. Ross Arena and cheer them on.