Rugby ends season at President’s Cup
Rugby returned from the Northern Plains President’s Cup winless in four games, but it really wasn’t about winning or losing, according to Ice Hawks coach Jay McClintock Jr.
The high school-level hockey tournament in Rapid City, S.D. (March 18-21) was about getting one more opportunity to play together.
“It was a reward for the season we had,’ McClintock said. “We saw very good competition and the experience of playing in a nice arena there is something our players won’t soon forget. But we were awfully tired, playing four games in about 36 hours.”
Rugby finished 0-3-1, losing games to Pierre, S.D; Billings, Mont.; and Casper, WY; before skating to a 5-5 tie with Richland (Sidney, Mont.).
“That game we were up 5-1 and just ran out of gas,’ McClintock said.
This was the second year in a row Rugby played in the President’s Cup which features some of the top teams from North and South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. The Ice Hawks were selected based on their high finish at the recent North Dakota Amateur Hockey Association state tournament. They finished third.
Teams were allowed to pick up players from other teams to bolster their rosters. Rugby had three players from Mayville-Portland and two from Watford City take part.
McClintock said the speed and physical play was a notch above league play.
“For South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming, this is the top level of hockey for them,’ he said. “In North Dakota, we sort of have Class A and Class B hockey (Class A being sanctioned by the North Dakota High School Activities Association).”
In addition to Rugby, Grand Forks and Richland (Sidney, Mont.) represented the NDAHA league.
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