October 12, 2013 –
The Burnaby Winter Club Bantam A1 Bruins have been on a pretty good run over the first few weeks of the season, racking up eight straight wins in tournament and PCAHA placement action, but the competition suddenly got a whole lot tougher as they entered the Chilliwack Bantam AAA tournament this weekend.
The Bruins started the tournament with a 2-2 result against Langley. They got right back to their winning ways though on Saturday, pulling off an impressive 6-3 win over the Calgary Bisons. Things also appeared to be going according to plan against the Kamloops Jardines Blazers on Saturday afternoon, with a 2-0 lead on the board halfway through the second period, until the Blazers responded with four unanswered goals en route to a 4-2 third period lead.
With the undefeated streak on the line, James Malm got the Bruins within one, firing a laser into the top corner from the faceoff dot on the powerplay. The special teams then helped the Bruins level the score, but this time it was the penalty killing unit doing the damage. Bruins forward Henry Rhys intercepted a pass just inside his own blueline and met no resistance as he quickly covered the next 80 feet of ice, making no mistake as he snapped home the equalizer.
In the last few minutes, both teams traded strong scoring chances, including a late powerplay by the Blazers, but the game ended deadlocked 4-4.
“The effort (at the end), was like the effort at the start, it was good,” said BWC Coach John Batchelor. “We kept the game simple, worked hard, got the puck in deep and capitalized on some chances.”
Despite the tie, it was evident from the way the team played in the middle section of the game that there is still room to improve on mental sharpness and execution.
“We seem to be struggling to find our identity and play for a full sixty minutes,” said Batchelor. “We get too complacent and too individualistic and that leads to turnovers. They (Kamloops) got lots of chances just because we weren’t smart with the puck.”
One player who stood out for his play with the puck was the aforementioned goal scorer James Malm.
“He’s got exceptionally good hands, as good as I have ever seen from a hockey player at this level,” said Batchelor. “It’s got its positives and it’s got its negatives. James is learning that you can’t hang on to the puck that long, that when you beat one guy you don’t need to beat the second, third and fourth guy. Just move the puck, but he’s getting much better at it.”
The Bruins head into Sunday for pool crossover action with an elimination game in the morning.
“I think we have a good chance if we can stay out of the penalty box,” said Batchelor. “We’re a good team when we can run all our lines.”