By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
It was a bittersweet ending for the Havre Ice Hawk PeeWee squad. The Hawks knocked off the previously unbeaten Helena Bighorns in the State B PeeWee tournament in Miles City, but they couldn't do it twice in one weekend.
With the game tied at 2-2 after two periods, Helena scored a pair of goals in the third period to capture the 2004 state championship on March 14.
Havre got goals from Tyler Miller and Beau Briese - both assisted by Shane Kemmer - in the loss.
However, Helena's Michael Sullivan scored his last of three goals to give the Bighorns the lead and Justin Darlington added an insurance goal to secure the win.
Willie DeVries had 16 saves in goal for Havre.
"We outshot them 31-17 in the game," said Ice Hawks head coach Mark Majeres. "I felt like we outplayed them. But we just couldn't get any pucks past their goaltender. He's a pretty tough little goalie."
Indeed, Helena goaltender Collin Champa allowed only six goals in 111 shots on the entire weekend.
The win was some revenge for Helena, having lost to the Ice Hawks, 2-1, in pool play earlier in the tourney.
The Bighorns came into the tournament with an undefeated record against league teams, including four wins over Havre during the regular season.
But the last two wins over Havre were hardly decisive and the Ice Hawks were confident they could play with Helena.
"We had lost to them 3-2 in our last two games," Majeres said. "Our kids really felt like we could beat them."
Havre played that way in the pool-play win.
Trailing 1-0 going into the third period, Havre got a game-tying goal from Dillon McLain with an assist from Dylan Patterson early in the final period. Kemmer provided the game winner on an assist from Briese.
"We really have gotten better through the season and it showed in that game," Majeres said.
Havre's defensemen put in a solid performance and DeVries had another solid game in goal, stopping 13 shots.
The Ice Hawks opened the tournament on March 12 in dominant fashion with a 7-0 win over Missoula in pool play.
Kemmer scored a hat trick and dished out an assist to lead the Havre scoring. Beau Briese added a pair of goals and Tyler Miller and C.J. Evans also found the net for Havre. Kyle Miller and Nick Sunchild chipped in with assists. DeVries picked up the shutout in goal with eight saves.
Havre's scoring binge continued later in the day with a 10-0 trouncing of Bozeman. Kemmer picked up another hat trick while Tyler Miller, Kyle Miller and Nick Wood had a goal and an assist each. Also scoring goals were Jesse Majeres, Cam Schilling and Patterson. Chipping in with assists in the game were Adam Briese, Garrett Gilbert and Sunchild.
Alex Sinclair got the shutout in goal for the Ice Hawks with nine saves.
After handing Helena the loss in their final pool play game, the Ice Hawks picked up an 8-3 win over Billings in the cross-over game.
Beau Briese scored a hat trick, Wood scored a goal and dished out two assists and Majeres and McLain added a goal and an assist each in the win.
Also scoring for Havre were Schilling and Kemmer, while Tyler Miller, Evans, Wood, Gilbert and Zack Wavrick added assists.
Sinclair picked up the win in net, stopping 11 shots.
Despite finishing second, Majeres was pleased with his team's performance.
"I thought the kids did real well," he said. "They played as hard as I could have expected all weekend. We just came up a little short. I know they were disappointed losing to Helena in the championship."
Majeres credited his defense led by defensemen Adam Briese, Patterson, Evans, Wavrick and Amanda Hanson along with his two goaltenders - DeVries and Sinclair - for Havre's success on the weekend.
"We only gave up 13 shots on goal a game which is very good," Majeres said. "It's a credit to our defensemen, and our goalies were very tough."
Strong defense is something that he has preached all season to his team. And his kids really started to understand the importance of it, despite not gaining a player much glory.
"It's tough to get kids of any age to want to play defense," Majeres said. "But the kids really bought into the idea of playing defense and it was the reason we were so successful."