First order of business for the Vernon Watkin Motors Mustangs Thursday morning: select their stalls in the Civic Arena’s northwest corner dressing room, their home-away-from home the next four days.
Second order of business: take care of the Calgary Glenlake Hawks.
The Mustangs erupted for three goals in each of the first two periods and matched that with a six-spot in the final 20 minutes as Vernon shelled the Hawks 12-0 in the opening game of the 45th annual Vernon Winter Carnival Coca Cola Classic Pee Wee Hockey Tournament.
“It was a great first game, the kids always come out hard, compete well, they love to work and they play really well as a team,” said Mustangs head coach Wes Elliott, who had his own stall as a member of the Mustangs in the late 1970s – a team that lost the B or C final as he recalled – and in the same dressing room as a member of the Vernon Lakers’ B.C. Hockey League team.
“The kids have been talking about this tournament for the last two months. They wanted to get here at 6:30 this morning to pick out their stalls.”
Austin Roest and Steel Quiring each scored three times for the Mustangs, whose speed and size were too much for the Hawks to handle.
“It was a lot of fun out there,” smiled first-year forward Austin Roest, who got the scoring party started just 67 seconds into the contest. “The first goal was pretty big. I was lucky enough to tip it in.”
Jacob Boden scored twice while Connor Elliott, Zackary Funk, Porter Trevelyan and Jarred Feist had the other Mustangs goals. Cayden Hamming and Teja Sheldrake shared the shutout.
Vernon took on the Idaho Jr. Steelheads of Boise Thursday night, and wrap up the round robin at 5:30 p.m. today against the Dawson Creek Canucks.
Jackson Howell scored three times and added three assists as the Steelheads swamped the Canucks 11-3 Thursday morning.
The four teams in the other pool include the Nelson Leafs, St. Albert Sabres, Fort St. John Flyers and Alaska Fairbanks Arctic Lions.
The Arctic Lions froze out the Flyers 7-2 Thursday afternoon.
The championship semifinals go Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.
The four finals Sunday run at 10 a.m. (D event), 12:30 p.m. (C), 3 p.m. (B) and the championship match at 5:30 p.m.
All games are at the Civic Arena.