Chiefs confident after performance at Mac’s Tournament

Team back in Red Deer on home ice this Saturday at the Kinex Arenas

  • Jan. 11, 2017 4:59 p.m.

The Mac’s AAA Midget Hockey Tournament is one of the toughest in all of Canada.

Held in Calgary and featuring teams from areas as far-flung as New York, Alaska and — in one case — Belarus, the annual championship is among the most competitive Midget tournaments in the world.

And that’s what makes it the perfect place for teams like the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs to test their mettle against some of the best hockey programs out there.

“It’s a difficult tournament to do well in with so many games and there’s no easy games. You’re playing basically the best teams in Alberta, B.C., some of the international teams,” said Optimist Chiefs’ Head Coach Doug Quinn of the Mac’s, which took place in Calgary over the week after Boxing Day.

It would turn out to be a solid five days of hockey for the Chiefs, although it didn’t start out that way.

“We lost our first game. Got off to a bad start,” said Quinn of the team’s opening game against the Foothills CFR Chemical Bisons, which they ended up losing 5-2 after allowing a pair of goals in the first six minutes of the game.

“I think they had two goals on four shots and that was kind of hard. We just never really could recover.”

At a tournament as short and competitive as the Mac’s, a single loss can mean the difference between qualifying for a playoff spot and heading home early because only the winner of each of the five pools and three wild card teams earn a spot in the single-elimination round.

If you lose one of your four games in the round robin, your odds of winning your five-team pool are pretty much up. If you lose two, you can basically forget about the wild card.

The Chiefs didn’t let the odds phase them, though. They proceeded to go undefeated throughout the rest of the round robin, posting big wins over the Moose Jaw Generals (3-1), Alaska Oilers (6-3) and Greater Vancouver Canadians (6-2) to finish the pool round with a 3-1 record and a good enough scoring differential to qualify in the first wild card spot.

“I thought we played three pretty strong games in a row to make the quarterfinals,” said Quinn.

Unfortunately, that’s where the ride would end for the Chiefs, who ran up against a Belarus U17 National team which had been dominant throughout the round robin.

Despite a valiant effort on Red Deer’s part, they couldn’t topple Belarus, falling 4-0 to the eventual tournament champs.

“I thought we competed pretty hard. The shots were only 18-14. They had guys who could make an individual play and we just never scored on our opportunities,” Quinn said, adding that overall the tournament was a good experience for his squad.

“Obviously we all wanted to win but I’m also looking to see if we improved and developed as a team and I definitely thought we did. I thought we took it to a new level.”

The strong performance in the tournament might prove to be a good indicator of things to come for the Chiefs. This past weekend, the team won a pair of important league games over the Knights of Columbus Pats and the Sherwood Park J. Ennis Kings.

“I think it helped give us a little bit more confidence and understand a little bit better how hard you have to work and how hard you have to compete. I think it definitely was a positive experience for us,” said Quinn.

The Red Deer Optimist Chiefs are back at home this Saturday as they host the SEAC Tigers at the Kinex Arenas. Puck drop on that game is at 4:30 p.m.

Just Posted

Canadian legends Sloan coming to Bo’s Bar and Grill

Band to feature new album featuring single The Day Will be Mine

WATCH: Women’s Emergency Shelter holds 24th annual fundraising dinner

About 600 women and children used the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter last year

Central Albertans encouraged to provide submissions for ‘The Mics Awards Show’

Prestigious event, set for May, honours youth in the arts

Generals power through Game 3, winning 7-2

Seven-game series continues Saturday in Stony Plain

Cilantro and Chive wins big at 2018 Alberta Beer Awards

Lacombe business takes home top honours for Pub/Restaurant of the Year

WATCH: 12th Annual Red Deer Collector Car Auction sees many

Lots of different cars to see all weekend at Westerner Park

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

PHOTOS: Team Tanner takes in northern lights in Yellowknife

The aurora borealis and storm hunters photograph Yellowknife’s picturesque night skies

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

UPDATED: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

Canadian survivors, supporters rally against proposed ’60s Scoop settlement

Some have accused the government of underestimating the number of survivors

Nordic athlete Arendz to be Canada’s flagbearer at Paralympic closing ceremony

The biathlete and cross-country skier from Hartsville has raced to five medals in Pyeongchang

Progress on fixing Phoenix pay system backlog could be short-lived: Ottawa

Feds have said they won’t try to recover money overpaid until all outstanding issues are fixed

Most Read