Friday night’s NSWC Bantam A1 game brought rival BWC Bruins into the Hawks barn for a game that many felt could be a precursor of the BC provincials, with the top two ranked teams in BC facing off for the fourth time this season.
On the line, top rankings for this week in BC, and more importantly perhaps, an edge going into the second half of the season.
The game finished 1-1 with the Winterhawks coming from behind to tie with 2:53 left in the third on beauty top shelf goal in tight from captain Dante Hannoun.
So, despite Winterhawk fans’ hopes, BWC retains the crown for too spot, at least for another week, though perhaps not with the edge they held coming into the game.
After two periods of scoreless play, Medicine Hat native Jaeger White scored for BWC, unassisted, picking off a D to D pass in front of the Winterhawk net on a defensive miscue, at the 16:14 mark of the third period to put the yellow and black ahead.
The Winterhawks had charged out the gate with a dominating first period, outshooting BWC 8-2, and pressing the Bruins top line with an aggressive forecheck that kept the Bruins on the defensive and mostly bottled up in their own end.
Bruins top D Dante Fabbro and Matt Barberis, were continually pressured by quick, tenacious NSWC forecheckers. Especially effective was first year forward Justin Alemeida, who forced several turnovers and kept Bruins defenders scrambling.
After a rough first period, the Bruins regrouped for the second and tipped the scales back to their favor, pressing the Winterhawks hard for a good portion of the period, and rebalancing the shot clock to 10-10 at the end of two.
White’s go ahead goal seemed to fire up the NSWC team, and the flow of the game shifted back to the Winterhawks right after the ensuring centre ice face-off. The pressure finally paid off, with NSWC captain Dante Hannoun scoring a highlight reel goal with under three minutes to play to even the score. Hannoun broke into the slot and fired a quick high shot that beat Tyler Shagrue high on the glove side.
The tying goal fired up both teams over the final three minutes, but to no avail, and the game ended with no further scoring.