In the first big spring tournament of the season, the 2000 North West Junior Giants overcame a shaky start in the opener to close out the Langley Buccaneers 4-2 in the final of the bantam minor AA division championship game.
The Buccaneers were 5-0 going into the game, having opened the tournament with a 4-1 win over the Junior Giants, and then winning three more round robin games; 3-2 vs the Vancouver Icemen, 6-1 vs the Edgey Islanders, and 4-3 vs the Fraser Valley Royals. The Bucs then downed the fourth place Icemen 2-1 in another close one, in the semi final Sunday morning.
The Junior Giants meanwhile, slowly gathered steam as the tournament went on, improving with a 7-0 win over the Edgey Islanders in their second game Friday, a 3-2 win vs the Icemen and then tying the Royals 1-1 in the Saturday round robins.
The Giants went into their semi-final tied with Fraser Valley, each with a 2-1-1 record, which set up the rematch in the Sunday morning elimination game, which the Giants won, 4-2, scoring the insurance goal late in the third.
That set up the final match up with the Bucs, who had again narrowly defeated the Icemen, 2-1 in their elimination game Sunday morning. This time the Giants prevailed to claim the championship.
The Junior Giants are made of a mix of North Shore Winter Club and Hollyburn players, coached by Clint Thorton, and Bob McCuaig. Thornton is head coach of the NW Giants Major Midget squad, and McCuaig formerly the coach of the North East Chiefs, and current coach of the North Van Bantam A1s.
After the tourney Thornton said the team got better every period.
“A lot of players really stepped it up the past two games. It was a great team environment which led to our success. Both games we saved our best hockey for the third and added insurance late in the periods.”