Six different goal scorers helped Saskatoon take down Prairie Central 6-4 in the Saskatchewan Winter Games male hockey gold medal game on Wednesday afternoon at the Civic Centre.
"I think nerves were high for everybody," Saskatoon forward Hunter Dodge said after the win, where he played in front of his grandparents. "It's an amazing experience being out here and having them watch. It's just super fun and very exciting."
Both teams entered the final with perfect 3-0 records, so the close score was not surprising.
The difference, in the end, were a couple of third period insurance goals from Saskatoon forwards Tyrus Flory and Berg Weber.
Saskatoon entered the third period up 4-3, but were able to extend it to 6-3 because of those goals, before holding on 6-4 to claim gold.
"They came together in a short period of time and they bought in to a team concept that carried them through," Saskatoon head coach Drew Torchinski said. "It's all about the kids...It's all about them and it's not about us. We come here and the enjoyment is to watch them; watch them succeed and grow up, just as people in general."
Making a few key highlight reel saves was Saskatoon goaltender James Venne, who came into the game halfway through (both teams switched goalies at the halfway mark to make sure everyone got playing time).
Venne, who plays for the Saskatoon Maniacs bantam AA team, said communication helped with the end result.
"My D-men especially helped me. I talked to them and they did what I asked," he said. "Just a great experience, especially just to win with all my best buddies and all my friends back in Saskatoon."
Coach Torchinski said six different players finding the back of the net was nothing new, as the team didn't change anything from the round robin to the gold medal game.
"Everyone kind of took their turn," he said. "We had our forwards going, our defence going, our goaltenders going and everyone picked up slack where others might have been down at one time.
"Whether we were up or down, we just carry on and do the same things that we were doing right...Believe in yourself, respect your opponent and the game, believe in your teammeates, support and protect them, and anything is possible."
While Saskatoon and Prairie Central finished 1-2, Lakeland beat South East 3-1 in the third-place game to win bronze.
Female hockey begins at the Sask. Winter Games on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. at both Battleford Arena and Don Ross Arena.
Pool play will continue on Friday before the medal round on Saturday morning.
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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