January 1, 2018
The Fraser Valley Thunderbirds were BC’s last hope for BCMML glory at this year’s Mac’s AAA Midget Hockey Tournament in Calgary, when they faced off against the Regina Pat Canadians at noon Sunday.
All four of the other BC hopefuls had already been eliminated, including the two top teams in the league, #1 Valley West Hawks and #2 Cariboo Cougars.
The T-Birds came into the quarter-final with a 2-2-0 record, after downing the Tisdale Trojan’s 5-3 in a must win final round robin game Saturday morning.
Gage Gonclaves notched two, while Jackson Mainse, Ethan Bowen and Dylan Anderson added singles. Dawson Pelletier stopped 28 of 31 for the win.
In the quarter-final playoff game Sunday, the T-Birds were up against a Regina team that came in with loss-less record of 2-0-2. The wins were shutout victories over Airdrie (4-0) and Ontario Jr. Reign (3-0), while the ties included a 3-3 battle win the Valley West Hawks, and a 1-1 contest vs Calgary North Stars.
Oddly, although the Hawks were eliminated, they competed in the same round robin pool as the Canadians, and posted the same 2-0-2 record – along with Calgary Northstars, who also advanced to the playoffs (losing 2-1 to St. Albert Raiders). Tournament rules state that a maximum of two teams move on per five team pool, and the Hawks lost out on a technicality to the two other teams.
Must win vs Regina:
In the game vs the Canadians, Fraser Valley jumped out to a 1-0 lead after the first on an even strength goal from Jake Mulder.
The Canadians got one back in the second, before Dylan Stolz scored late in the period to give the T-Birds a 2-1 lead going in the third.
In the third, it looked like the T-Birds were going to hang on for the win, but the Canadians pulled their goalie and scored with 10.1 seconds left on the clock, to force OT.
Regina’s Matthew Culling then scored 4:45 into OT to complete the comeback, and send the T-Birds home.
The Canadians went on to defeat the New York PAL Islanders 2-1 in 3OT in the semi, and then win the tournament, with a 4-0 shutout of the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs in the final.
The champions scored just 16 goals in six games, but only allowed seven against. The T-Birds were 20 GF – 16 GA in five games, Valley West were 15-9 in four games. Calgary Buffaloes lead the offense by large margin, putting up 34 vs 13 against, in five games.
Red Deer entered the playoffs with a 3-1-0 round robin record, and had advanced with a 3-1 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the quarters, and a 1-0 win over St. Albert Raiders in the semi before meeting Regina in the final.
The T-Birds Dawson Pelletier was named First Team All-Star goaltender. The Cougars d-man Brennan Malgunas was also named to the first team.
Mac’s First All-Star team:
G: Dawson Pelletier (Fraser Valley Thunderbirds)
D: Brennan Malgunas (Cariboo Cougars)
D: Adam Heindel – Red Deer Optimist Chiefs
F: Alex Morozoff, Saskatoon Contacts
F: Liam Fraser, Calgary Buffaloes
F: Layne Sniher. Calgary Buffaloes
Second Team All-Stars:
The North West Giants defenceman Jason Chu was named to the second All-star team, along with goalie Josh Dias of the Valley West Hawks.
Kelowna Showcase next:
BCMML regular season play resumes Friday, January 12, with the T-Birds meeting the Thompson Blazers at the Capital News Centre in Kelowna, in the league’s second Showcase weekend of the season.
All 11 teams will be in action in Kelowna.
Mac’s 2017 Final Standings:
|St. Albert Raiders||6||4||2||0||8||19||14||40|
|Fraser Valley Thunderbirds||5||3||2||0||6||20||16||68|
|Hungarian National U18||4||1||3||0||2||10||19||64|
|Red Deer Optimist Chiefs||6||5||1||0||10||18||13||42|
|Belarus National U17||4||2||2||0||4||20||12||36|
|Vancouver NW Giants||4||1||2||1||3||13||21||58|
|Knights of Columbus Pats||4||2||1||1||5||18||10||38|
|Swift Current Legionnaires||4||2||1||1||5||18||18||61|
|Carolina Jr Hurricanes||4||0||4||0||0||4||42||32|
|New York Jr. Islanders||6||3||1||2||8||17||12||46|
|Prince Albert Mintos||4||2||2||0||4||10||7||20|
|Okotoks Bow Mark Oilers||4||1||2||1||3||13||13||68|
|Greater Vancouver Canadians||4||0||4||0||0||8||22||70|
|Regina Pat Canadians||6||4||0||2||10||16||7||58|
|Valley West Hawks||4||2||0||2||6||15||9||36|
|Airdrie CFR Bisons||4||1||3||0||2||8||14||80|
|Ontario Jr. Reign||4||0||4||0||0||5||17||74|