The Ridge Meadows Rustlers started the new year with a third-place finish from their U13 A2 team in the Hometown Heroes tournament.
As part of the tournament, five U15 teams and 15 U13 teams gathered in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge to battle it out, with the final matches being played on New Year’s Day.
Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association president Nick Davis explained that the tournament is far-reaching, including teams from all over Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and Washington.
“The Hometown Heroes tournament is our opportunity to celebrate the numerous athletes, coaches and volunteers that have come from the communities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows and have achieved greatness in sport,” said Davis.
Five local teams participated in this tournament, but only one was able to get a podium finish.
Both the Rustlers U13 A3 and A2 teams made it to the semifinals, but were defeated by their opponents. This led to a bronze medal game with the two Ridge Meadows teams going up against one another.
Kaleb Orr opened up the scoring for the A3 team with a goal in the first period. The A2 team responded in the second period by scoring two unanswered goals to bring them to a 2-1 lead. There was a brief comeback by the A3 team when Ethan Kazakoff scored a game-tying goal in the third period, but that was quickly squashed with three more A2 goals, leading to the 5-2 bronze medal win for the Rustlers U13 A2 team.
Topping the division was the Mission Stars, who took first place after a low-scoring 1-0 game against the North Delta Sun Devils.
The Rustlers U13 A4 White team also represented the community in the semifinals in their division, but were defeated in a 5-3 match against the Whatcom Warriors, which included a two-goal performance from Rustlers forward Nathan Kater.
They then faced off against the Langley Eagles in the bronze medal game, where they were handily defeated in a 9-1 game that saw Maxx Legg scoring the only Rustlers goal.
After tying three of their round-robin games and losing only one, the Rustlers U13 A4 Red team found themselves in the quarter-finals against the Kerry Park Islanders, where they were knocked out of the tournament after a 9-2 beatdown from the Vancouver Island team.
The Rustlers U15 A3 team entered the tournament semifinals with a winning record, but then lost their 10-4 match against the Aldergrove Bruins, which was followed by a 2-0 loss against the Cloverdale Colts in the bronze medal game.
Coming away as the big winners of the division were the Bruins, who won gold after narrowly beating out the Abbotsford Hawks with a late third-period goal that gave them the 6-5 victory.
The next Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association tournament will be the Jim Lindsay Memorial, which is set to take place from Feb. 17-20 and will include U13, U15, and U18 teams.
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