It was a trying weekend for the Kootenay Rapids Midget Rep team at the Nakusp Arena.
The Rapids went up against the Vernon Vipers Midget Rep team in two exciting matches on Nov. 26 and 27.
Five of the players for the Rapids are from Nakusp — Jackson Herridge, Adam Volansky, Kobe Nishida, Jake LaPlante, and Brody Herridge. This is the first time in five years the boys have played on their home ice.
The Rapids’ first match was an interesting one. While players on both teams were strong and fast, the first period of the game saw no goals for either side.
Things changed in the second period. The Vipers scored goal after goal throughout the 20 minute interval, though the Rapids managed to score their first goal of the game with six minutes left in the period.
The third and final period of the game saw another point scored by the Rapids, and two points scored by the Vipers.
Vipers won the match 6-2.
Though the first game was a loss, Rapids’ coach Grant Pilla was confident in the team.
“I thought we had a fantastic first period,” he said. “I though the guys worked very hard and played our systems well. Second period we got down a couple of goals and lost our composure. We took a some penalties, and we stopped playing our game and as a result we got behind quite a bit.”
Game two would be a very different match.
The Vipers dominated the first period, scoring three goals within the first three minutes of the game, eventually bringing the score up to 4-0.
While the Rapids were able to score a goal with just under ten minutes to go in first period, it would be their only goal of the game.
The Vipers were able to get one more goal in the second period, but the Rapids were able to hold them off for the rest of the period, and the game.
The final score was 5-1 for the Vipers. Even though they lost, the Rapids were content with the game.
“I thought that we had a really bad start, but we turned it around in the second and third period,” said Jake LaPlante. “We couldn’t come up with a win, which was too bad.”
Despite being disappointed in the final score, Pilla knew his team was better than how they played.
“I thought that we put in a valiant effort, but our guys looked tired, both mentally and physically,” he said. “We’re a better team than what we showed this weekend, and it’s no fault of these guys, we’re just playing too much and we need a rest.”
The Rapids have had a hockey game every weekend from Oct. 1 to now. They haven’t been able to take a break because they play in two leagues, the Omaha League, and the West Kootenay League.
When asked if he would have done anything different about the game, Coach Pilla said, “When I scheduled the year at the beginning, I would have scheduled a weekend off here and there.” They’re paying the price for that right now.”
The Rapids have two league games in Kelowna, and a tournament game in the coming weeks.