Rollercoaster ride at Alberta Cup
Hockey: Foothills players show well for Team South
Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 06:00 am
Five foothills Bantam stars got a priceless eye-opener to what elite hockey truly looks like.
Team South’s Brendon Borbely, Dakota Krebs, Isaiah Betinol and Kade Nagy of Okotoks and Priddis’ Dylan Prpich got a rude awakening in a 9-1 loss to Calgary North before rebounding with a pair of bounce back performances en route to skating into the D-final.
“The top players in Alberta are all here, a lot of guys who I haven’t seen before,” Betinol said. “It was high-end skill, definitely no weak points on any team and just high in competition all the time.
“It was pretty much what I expected. Obviously we didn’t get the result we wanted.”
The Okotoks netminder was in goal for the less than ideal start to the tournament as the Alberta Cup headed south quickly for the host team in Strathmore. He had to quickly shake off the result with a pair of contests on Friday.
“It was kind of hard. I had a lot of things running around my mind,” Betinol said. “There is a lot of pressure, a lot of scouts in the stands, but at the end of the day I had to focus on stopping pucks.”
Zeroing on his play between the pipes paid off in spades. Betinol turned aside 37 shots, earned player of the game honours and guided Team South to a 3-1 victory over Edmonton South, its lone win of the tournament on Friday evening. Borbely and Prpich each scored in the win.
“The first period the bounces were just going my way and me and the team just build off that,” Betinol said. “It’s really big, especially because it was a bounce back game. It was really important to me to get my confidence built back again.”
The two-goal victory coupled with a narrow 3-2 loss to Northwest on Friday morning, put Team South in a semifinal showdown versus Central with a spot in the C-final on the line. Central reigned supreme 7-3.
“Central is a good team,” Borbely said. “We managed to get a few scoring chances, we just couldn’t generate enough to stay in it.”
Team South wrapped up the tourney in dropping the D-final by a 5-2 count in a rematch with Northwest on Sunday morning.
“(The message) was do what we’ve been doing all tournament, don’t stop trying. Seventh is better than eighth, but we couldn’t pull it off,” said Prpich, who potted two goals at the Alberta Cup. “The first period was pretty bad, the last two we tried to come back, but it wasn’t enough.”
Nagy took home player of the game honours in recognition of an impressive showing from the talented winger.
“I got more confident with the puck, controlled it and made better plays,” Nagy said. “Our win gave us some confidence.”
Calgary North took the tournament title edging Northeast 5-4 in Sunday evening’s Alberta Cup final.
Win or lose, an experience of a lifetime for the province’s Bantam representatives.
“The atmosphere was like playing in higher levels and preparing us for the future and you felt like kings the whole time,” said Krebs, an alternate captain for Team South. “Those stands were packed every game and it was an awesome experience, I thought.”
For the full list of results from the tournament go to hockeyalberta.ca/albertacup