October 14, 2013 –
The Burnaby Winter Club Bruins had to overcome early start times, a tough draw and a pair of two goal deficits against a formidable NSWC team in the semi final just to earn a place in the Chilliwack Bantam AAA Tournament Final. Once they finally made it to the big game though, they made no mistake, closing out the Okanagan Hockey Academy by a 4-1 score.
James Malm contributed two goals, including the insurance marker and the dagger in the closing stages of the third period. Despite the offensive outburst from Malm, the real story of this game was BWC’s defence.
Coming into Monday afternoon’s gold medal game, the Bruins had given up three or more goals in three of their five games in this tournament. With the pressure mounting and OHA pressing hard for the equalizer, BWC’s defence conceded a single goal on back to back 5-3 penalty kills.
The goal was the only blemish on a near perfect game from the BWC defence corps. They were able to dictate the game to OHA, whose forwards struggled to get into the zone, found little in the way of time and space with the puck and were completely unable to generate offence from the rush or the cycle.
“We try to keep things simple and try to keep everything to the outside, that’s our model, said Coach John Batchelor. “Willy (Will Warm) and Watty (Nick Watson) played a lot of minutes, crucial minutes. Defence is something we try to build on. Last year we had guys like Fabbro and Barberis and this year we’re kind of by committee.”
At forward, Ilijah Colina played a strong game. The first year bantam scored the game’s opening goal, slipping behind the defence after his penalty had expired and launching a low slapshot past Okanagan goalie Shane Farkas. The BWC staff showed a lot of confidence in the rookie, using him in a checking and penalty killing role even into the third period with the score 2-1.
“A lof of our now second year guys spent time on the bench as first year players,” noted Batchelor. “For a first year player to come in and be able to handle that role, we know we have a pretty good player on our hands.”
Batchelor was happy with the effort he saw from his team this weekend, and though the victory will be enjoyed in the short term, his team’s focus will soon shift to bigger priorities.
“It was a hard fought win, a hard fought journey getting to the finals,” said Coach John Batchelor. “Having us come out on top makes it that much sweeter.”
Batchelor paused for a moment and then added “we did a lot of hard work, but in April nobody remembers who won in Chilliwack.”