Rugby posts 1-2 record at President’s Cup
Rugby’s Junior Gold hockey season went into overtime – and despite a 1-2 outcome at the Northern Plains Presidents Cup – it was a great experience.
“Any time you get to extend your season and get the opportunity to face some quality teams from outside your state, it’s a bonus,’ said Rugby coach Jay McClintock Jr.
The Ice Hawks were in Rapid City, S.D. (March 20-21) to play in an eight-team tournament that featured teams from North and South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.
Rugby opened with a 5-4 victory over Rapid City on March 20, scoring the game-winning goal on a 5-on-3 power play with under a minute to play.
“We jumped out to an early three-goal lead, and then they came back to tie; and then we got ahead again, and they tied it up again,’ McClintock said. “It was a exciting game.”
The Ice Hawks then faced a team from Casper, Wyoming, on March 21, falling 4-1. “It was a pretty competitive game throughout, and we had our good share of scoring chances,’ he said.
Later that day, Rugby lost to Missoula, Mont., 8-2. That loss ended any chance to advance to the placing round.
“They had a lot of big, fast skaters and were one of the best teams we’ve seen this year,’ McClintock said.
While Junior Gold hockey in North Dakota is often identified as a step below high school-sanctioned hockey, Junior Gold in Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota is the top rung of hockey for high school-aged players. “These are their top programs,’ McClintock said.
A team from Sioux Falls, S.D, won the Presidents Cup, defeating Missoula. Langdon-Park River and Mayville-Portland formed a team and also competed, winning one of three games. “Of all the teams in the field, the two from North Dakota came from the smallest towns,’ McClintock noted.
In addition to playing, Rugby players and parents did some sightseeing, going up to Mount Rushmore. McClintock said the weather was also pleasant, with temperatures in the low 80s. “It didn’t seem like hockey weather,’ he quipped.
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