Oct 26, 2013
In a game that saw several ex-team mates playing against each other, and two North Shore Pouliot brothers facing off on opposite sides of the puck, there were more than a few strange scenarios at play in this exhibition game played at BWC on Saturday, Oct 26.
A team of all 15 year olds playing against a team of 15, 16, and 17 year olds; i.e., a US-style U16 squad against a typical BC midget team composed of a mix of grade 10, 11 and 12s (1998-97-96 birth years).
An ‘elite’ traveling team that trains together on and off the ice 4 days a week, and is finished training at the end of the school day vs a MHA team with the usual mix of late night ice and no standardized off ice program.
A test of contrasting team and player development theories.
Then there were a bunch of internal rivalries to factor in. The BWC E15 team roster includes 5 players who suited up as NSWC Bantam A1 or A2s last year. On the NSWC Midget A1 team, another 5 players who played on the same NSWC A1 or A2 bantam teams last year, including goaltender Cole Demers, a second year bantam, playing ‘up’.
Despite the age discrepancies, with the E15s all 1998 birth years, the team matched up well physically with the Midget A1 team, which includes three third players. Each team iced four or five kids well over six feet tall.
The E15s, who train at off ice at Burnaby Central and on ice at BWC, seemed to have the edge on speed and agility initially, but the NSWC Midget team controlled the play through a good part of the game.
Most observers expected a close game going in, and they got one.
BWC held on to edge out NSWC 2-1; despite being outshot 39-29, on goals by Ryan Hogg and Spencer Hunter. NSWC responded to the second BWC goal, on a shot by Troy Williams mid-way through the second, but couldn’t find the handle to get the tying goal, despite tremendous pressure over the final five minutes. Both goaltenders played well, Stradiotti got the win, Demers the loss.
In the end, many felt the U15s were fortunate to get the win, but they did.
So did the game prove a point? Probably not. Clearly both systems have their strengths and their deficiencies.
Perhaps a series might prove something, but at this point no grudge match has been planned.
However there will be another Academy vs NSWC Midget A1 game, though next time, the shoe will be somewhat on the other foot, as the Academy will be icing their U18 team.