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Coral Harbour claims bantam crown

Prime Paniyuk scored on a beautiful wrap-around early in the first overtime period to give Coral Harbour a dramatic 5-4 victory over Rankin Inlet to claim the 2020 Rankin Rock Bantam Championship in Rankin on Jan. 19.

The Rankin Rock had scored twice late in regulation time to erase a two-goal deficit and send the game to overtime tied at four.

Gregory Wiseman of the Rankin Rock accepts the Best Forward award from Craig Collier during the Rankin Rock Bantam Championship in Rankin Inlet on Jan. 19. Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Arviat got past Naujaat 6-5 in overtime to claim the bronze medal at the event.

Also competing at the bantam championship were Baker Lake and Team Kivalliq.

Speaking with the Kivalliq News immediately following the championship game, Coral head coach Ross Eetuk said the tournament was a hard-fought battle all weekend long and the Coral players never took a game for granted on their way to the championship.

He said the team knew what to expect heading into the final game against their longtime rival, the Rankin Rock.

“It all came down to one game and, in the end, we were the better team,” said Eetuk.

“It became somewhat obvious as the tournament went on that we were going to meet Rankin again in the final.

“It’s happened so many years now that every time we come here we expect to meet that Rankin team in the final.

“A Coral vs. Rankin final is nothing new in this tournament.”

Eetuk said Coral has several players who can dominate any hockey game and they were the team’s strength throughout the tournament.

He said things were getting a little tense with his players when the Rock scored twice late in the third period to tie the game.

“I kept telling them to calm down as were getting ready to start overtime, but these teenagers all have a mind of their own and it can be difficult to calm them down sometimes.

“I told them to calm down, be patient and good things would happen.

“Anything can happen when it comes down to one game between two teams like this to win a tournament.

“We were that team today, and that makes us very happy.”