It was a tough start to the Mac’s Midget AAA Tournament for the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs.
Red Deer had a 4-2 lead late in the third against the Vancouver North West Hawks, but dropped the game 5-4.
Jayden Henderson scored twice, Silas Buijs added a short-handed tally and Kaleb Kremp also scored in the loss.
Last year, after finishing 4-1 in round-robin play, the Optimist Chiefs lost 3-0 to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the quarterfinal.
Red Deer plays next Saturday at 9 a.m. against the Chicago Mission, then will take on the Saskatoon Blazers Sunday at 11:45 a.m. Monday, they finish round robin at 2:30 p.m., against the Calgary Flames. The championship game is on New Years Day at the Saddledome in Calgary.