The Delta Hockey Academy Wild can confidently claim to be the number 1 bantam team in Western Canada, after winning their fourth major tournament title this weekend, defeating the top non-academy team in BC – the NSWC Winterhawks – in the semi-finals, and the Calgary Flames in the final of the John Reid Memorial Tournament.
The Wild won the Chilliwack Bantam AAA Tournament in October (downing the Flames 4-3 in the semi), the Rocky Mountain (Calgary) Tournament in November and the KIBIHT (Kamloops) at the beginning of January.
Delta outscore opponents 26-10.
Delta moved through the round robin with a perfect 3-0 record: winning 6-3 vs Calgary Bisons, 3-0 vs Anaheim Jr. Ducks, and 5-2 vs Sherwood Park Flyers. They defeated the Colorado Rockies 4-1 in the quarter-finals before downing NSWC 6-3 in the semis, scoring five unanswered goals for the win.
The Wild then faced the Calgary Flames in the final, winning a tight 2-1 decision to capture the gold.
The Wild overcame some adversity early in the game, killing off two minors and then a double minor for head contact to goaltender Maguire Holland, before getting on the board with 14:31 left in the second on a goal from Corson Hopwo, assisted by Jack Judson.
Matthew Mosher scored the winner about five minutes later, assisted by Mackenzie Merriman.
In the third, Nicholas Unruh put the Flames on the board, on a goal assisted by Cameron Pollock-Hughes and Maxwell Crozier to close the gap to 2-1 with 13:02 remaining.
But that would be the end of the scoring, as Delta outshot the Flames 33-23 to claim the banner.
Flames tie NSWC and down BWC on way to final
The Flames came into the tournament with a 15-4-8 record in fifth place of the 22 team Alberta Major Bantam league. They tied the Dallas Stars 3-3 in their opener, then posted another 3-3 tie vs NSWC in their second game, before downing the SSAC Lions 8-2 to move to the quarter finals, where they downed the BWC Bruins 4-2. Next up were the #1 Alberta team Calgary Bisons (21-2-4), who they shutout 3-0 to advance to the final.
Delta placed three players on the All-Star team, goaltender Maguire Holland, forward Brendan Budy, and D-man Ty Smith, who moved to Delta from the Lloydminster Heat last summer. Smith was also named Tournament MVP.
This is the first year the Delta Hockey Academy has iced a bantam team, though the Academy has been running midget programs for ten years.
Where do the Delta players come from?
Most of the Delta players moved to the Academy from nearby minor hockey associations, six came from Langley and five from Semiahmoo.
From Langley (6):
Goaltenders: Boston Bilous and Maguire Houlind.
D: Luke Zazula and Bobby Russell, F: Brendan Budy and Brodi Stuart
From Semiahmoo (5):
D: Jack Judson, F: Matt Mosher, Mackenzie Merriman, Ethan Scardina, Josh Williams (2001)
From South Delta (2)
D: Riley Story and Nathan Kelly
From North Delta:
F: Tanner Hopps
F: Lukas Svejkovsky (2001)
F: Lach Hadley
From Cowichan Valley:
F: Corson Hopwo
D: Ty Smith
The Wild are leading the Canadian Sports School Hockey League, but like all CCSHL teams, are ineligible to play for the BC Provincial or Western Canadian Championships.