BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
BOUNTIFUL — The Viewmont Vikings hockey team may not have come home with the USA hockey championship, but their experiences at the tournament will not be forgotten.
Brian Acord, who essentially coached his last few games for the Vikings during last weekend’s USA Hockey Tournament in Florida, said he and his players “had an absolute blast” at the tournament, the first ever for the Vikings and Acord himself.
“I think we were one of the few true high school teams that attended the tournament,” he said. “A lot of the other teams were essentially All-Star type teams from their state that were sent to the tournament, but our boys played some great hockey.”
Despite being ousted early on, the team’s physical play stood out to the crowd. Even though the Vikings, who represented Utah during the competition, were down, the team’s tough physical play was something Acord said he was proud to see during the team’s short stay.
“The team maintained a positive attitude throughout and worked their tails off every shift,” said Acord. “Toward the end of one game, a player from the other team took a solid hit and said ‘What’s the deal? The game is already over and you guys lost.’ Our player said ‘We haven’t lost this shift!’ It just shows that we competed from start to finish, and I’m proud of that.”
Kenneth Carr got things started for the Vikings by scoring the team’s first goal during competition. Keegan Brown and Jeremy Wiser also scored, netting a pair of goals.
Wiser almost had a hat trick during one game, but one was called off due to the net being pulled off its pegs.
Another surprise, said Acord, was that Viewmont was one of the few teams that had any freshman on its team.
Alex Barrus, Coalyon Browning and Isaac Pantke, all freshmen, competed well during the weekend, and other key players such as P.J. Tanner and Travis Koury played well defensively.
“We had some great performances from all our players,” he said. “Both our goaltenders, Trey Johnson and Som Ostler, did a great job at the net too.”
Winning wasn’t as important as playing well.
“It was a tough tournament, but they did their best,” the coach said.
Aside from the hockey, Acord said he was grateful to have spent the time with the team that he did. Outside of the competition the players took part in a swamp boat tour of the Everglades and had fire-side meetings to discuss topics of leaderships on and off the ice.
“We had a great time on the beaches and spent the last day at South Beach,” Acord said. “We were sore, bruised and exhausted, but it was still a lot of fun.”
Viewmont finished 0-3 in pool play.