KENTVILLE – The Horton Griffins boys’ team have been crowned the Valley High School League Champions.
The team brought it home with a 10-4 victory over the West Kings Wolverines. Coach Jeff Moore and the players cheered on their players on the ice as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Dean Vial’s game was off the charts, scoring an impressive three of his team’s goals, and earning him a hat trick. Chris Landry scored two goals, while Caleb Hogan, Dawson McPhail, Zach Moore, Hunter Woodland and Kyle Corbin each scored one.
Of his team’s performance that day, Moore said his players should be proud of themselves.
“The lead players stepped up and took the momentum. That’s what we wanted,” he said.
The team had a game record of 18-1-1 before the championship, and was feeling confident going into the game, but still didn’t count on a surefire win.
“Sports are unpredictable. We’ve had a stellar season, but we would never hit the ice assuming we’re going to win,” said Moore.
Spencer Breckon, Owen St. Nicolaas, Dexter Newell and Riley Cook each scored a goal for West Kings. Coach Clarke Oliver said despite some ups and downs in the form of players’ injuries, the team has had a solid season, and is still feeling good with regionals coming up despite the day’s loss.
“Horton’s got a solid team. But we didn’t want to quit and wanted to play out the whole game, and we did that. I’m pretty happy with the outcome,” he said.
“Overall our season has been a solid one, from start to finish. These are a great group of kids.”
Horton won their first match against Park View, clinching a narrow 3-2 victory after a tight game. Leading 2-0 into the second period, Horton had a solid grip on the lead until Park View made a comeback, scoring their second goal with over nine minutes remaining in the second.
Less than fifteen seconds later, Horton scored the game winning goal.
Two of the team’s three goals were scored by Dean Vial, and the third by Blake Deacon, the team’s leading scorers.
Coach Jeff Moore said the game was a great one, and was clearly hard-fought on both sides.
“Battles were won in both corners by both teams. It was a dog fight till the end, and every player stepped up,” he said.
Team player Callum Pardy agreed, saying the match ups have been close ones.
“This was one of the best teams in our league,” he said.
“It was close, but this game we really stepped it up. We were getting first to the puck, battling hard, which is nice to see. All three lines were going hard, and everyone gave it their all.”
Regionals will kick off this Friday in Windsor, with the two winning teams heading to provincials after March Break.