The Colorado Avalanche Pee-Wee team was on a professional schedule on Monday, starting the day off with a morning skate at an outdoor rink in Sainte Catherine de la Jacques Cartier, Quebec.
Coach John McKibbon allowed the players to dress in their full Avalanche uniforms to get the team feeling good for the big game in the evening. The squad practiced for a short period of time and ended in a shootout competition that the postcard author of the day, Dimarco Benallo, won.
Following the team's practice, players and families took to the skating trails attached to the outdoor rink. Similar to hiking trails in the Rocky Mountains, the site had several different, smooth surfaced skating trails for the general public to enjoy. The players had some fun racing through the woods, even with a little downhill portion.
After the outdoor skating activities, the Jr. Avs ate a team lunch then made a pitstop at a local hockey shop to get all of the skates sharpened for the game. With a little down time before the Jr. Avalanche headed to Videotron Center, players went with their families and recharged for a couple of hours. The 8:30 p.m. start time ended up being a 9:15 p.m. puck drop, 12 hours after the Jr. Avs arrived at the outdoor rink for practice.
The St-Hyacinthe Mousquetaires of Quebec started the game on the right foot, scoring a goal in the first 11 seconds of the game. Then quickly went up 2-0 in the second period. From there, the Colorado Avalanche peewees turned it on and started playing their game, scoring three times in the second period, all in a 90-second span.
The third period started with a 3-3 tie, but with the help of two goals by forward Nolan Darlington and another by Braeden Reiher, the Jr. Avs held on to the lead and finished the game with a 7-4 victory. Forwards Dimarco Benallo (three assists) and Grady Glandorf (two goals, one assist) each tallied three points in the match.
The pee-wees will play in the third round of the tournament on Thursday night back at the Videotron Center.
Forward #22 Dimarco Benallo
Dear Avs Fans,
This morning we went to an outdoor rink and we had so much fun. We got to put our Avalanche uniforms on and practice. It was a very fun practice and we did a shootout competition at the end. I won it to get a Gabriel Landeskog signed puck. It felt like we were just like the pros when we were wearing our Avs jerseys for morning skate and had a very big game at night. There were also skating trails that our team skated on and it was such a beautiful trail. I got to skate through the trees with my teammates and family. Before we went to the Videotron Center, we went back to the hotel for a homework session and pregame nap.
Not only me, but the entire team was very excited and ready to play our game. This was the point where it was do or die. The other team came out firing with a goal in the first 10 seconds and then another in the second period. We were scared until we scored our first goal. Then we scored another two goals in the next few minutes. Our team was very pumped up, but then the Musketeers tied it up 3-3. Our hearts were beating fast and we were all ready to play after going into the locker room for the second intermission break. Right as we stepped onto the ice in the third, we scored right away and had four total goals in the period. The final score was 7-4, I ended up getting three assists in the game. As we headed to the locker room, we were jumping around so happy and excited to play at the Videotron Center again on Thursday. So far this has been such an amazing experience with and without hockey.