In an all-southern Alberta final, Team Green was victorious as Alberta Cup Champions on Sunday in Red Deer.
Unlike many of the other games in the four-day tournament, the final between Alberta Green and Alberta Red came down to the wire that saw Green win 1-0.
Calgary’s Owen Folstrom batted the puck out of the air midway through the third period to take the lead but Alberta Red didn’t go away easily.
After Green went on the penalty kill for a four-minute major penalty with two and a half minutes, Red pulled the goalie for six attackers. However, a penalty by Red a minute later halted their pressure briefly.
Alberta Red continued to attack but great penalty killing by Alberta Green sealed the deal for the victory.
Alberta Green captain Rhys Jamieson, who assisted on the game-winning goal, said they survived the final minutes by not getting too high on themselves.
And after that final buzzer went off Jamieson said he was elated to win the tournament.
They were also the only team to finish the round-robin round undefeated and the tournament a perfect 5-0.
“We all just bought in really well,” Jamieson said. “We stuck to our grit and we just kept on going.”
“To be out here with this team only once with this team it feels great.”
Head coach Garry Kimmen said since the first time they got the team together they’ve been a very close group.
“They were like a band of brothers,” he said.
“Those guys they played for each other. They weren’t worried about their individual stats they were worried about how the guy was beside them.
“That was key. As a coaching staff that’s what we tried to set up and lead the kids in the right direction.”
Alberta Green goaltender Carter Esler was fantastic in net making 22 saves in the effort for the shutout.
“He was unbelievable,” Kimmen said. “Both of our goaltenders. Steele Bass was crazy in the two games that he played as well. Unfortunate injury for him I wanted to play both goalies today but I couldn’t. Esler carried it big time.”
The Alberta Cup featured the best U15 players from across the province in order to showcase their talents in front of hundreds of Western Hockey League scouts.
Kimmen explained the talent in the tournament is top-notch.
“This is my third time coaching at this and the speed every year is going up and up. These kids the amount of skill we saw on the game-winning goal… He batted it out of the air like it was easy.”
No central Alberta players were featured in the final as both teams carried rosters from the Calgary and southern Alberta regions.
However, in the third-place game, Alberta Grey blew out Alberta Blue 9-3 and Alberta Black knocked off Alberta Gold 9-1 to capture fifth place.