For the first time in more than 10 years, the North Shore Winter Club Bantam A1 team have clinched the gold medal at the annual Medicine Hat Hounds bantam AAA tournament.
The team compiled six straight wins to do it.
“We had the toughest pool, I thought,” said head coach Jim Dinwoodie, “We played the top team in the Alberta league, the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers; the Calgary Edge Academy team – who got through to the final where we met them again, and a very good team from Saskatchewan, who competed hard. All the teams dug in to play us, it was what we needed.”
The team went 2-0 vs Edge Mountaineers, 5-2 vs Balgonie (Regina) Prairie Storm, and 5-3 vs Fort Saskatchewan Rangers, before downing Colorado Mountaineers 10-0 in the quarters and the Spruce Grove PAC Saints, 4-0 in the semi-final.
That set up the rematch against the Edge, who had downed BWC in an upset in the semis – winning despite being outshot 50-16.
Dinwoodie was happy with the way his team responded to the different style of play in Alberta.
“We had no power plays in the first three games, we had to kill way more than we’re used to, it’s a very different style than in BC – the refs put their whistles away – I’m not a big fan of it, at the next level it gets called – but we responded – this team is a little bigger, a little meaner, and a little wilder than last year’s team.”
The final was a convincing 6-1 decision for the Winterhawks.
“We got better as the tournament went on, and we capitalized when we finally got some power plays, going 3 of 4 and 3 of 5 in the last two games.
“In the final we scored on both ends of a double minor, and then again when the same guy came out and went right back in again.”
The team outscored their opponents by a combined 32-6 over the six game contest.
“We’ve focused on our D, we’ve got a good core of 6 guys, and our goal is to not spend much time in our end, to get it out quickly. Our goalies played real well too – Donovan Busky was very strong. Our plan is to try to limit their guys to 10-15 shots a game. We were able to do that for the most part.”
The Hawks were lead by a number of individuals who were recognized by tournament organizers for exceptional performances, including Defenceman of the Tournament, Ethan Cap, and All-star Forward selection, Jackson Leppard, who loves to play a physical game. Forward Luka Berzan, also a physical player, was named most Sportsmanlike.
Cap played for the North Vancouver Storm until this year, Berzan played for the Surrey Thunder in last year’s tournament.
Berzan led the NSWC in scoring in the round robin, with 3G and 4A, Leppard was second with 3G-1A.
Goaltenders Nic Hoem and Donovan Buskey shared duties equally.
Dinwoodie says that developing the team is a process and it’s about teaching and establishing an identity and a culture.
He says his players have to know there are 4 or 5 kids that could play on this team that were cut, and the guys on the team owe it to those guys to play hard every night.
“It’s about culture, part of the process is getting the guys to know what it means to wear the NSWC jersey – it’s not just about this team, but about what we’ve accomplished here over the years – that’s why people are come out to watch us.
“We have strong leadership, guys that want to be there, that know it’s about doing the little things right. There are no guarantees, we have to keep getting better.”
Dinwoodie praised the play of the other BC teams at the tournament, particularly Burnaby Winter Club and the Vancouver T-Birds.
(Nov 17 – the team was right back at it Monday night, less than 24 hours after arriving back from Medicine Hat, playing Cloverdale Colts in their first league game; winning 5-0, shots 35-9). Cloverdale was moved up into the top tier after starting in Flight 2; Cloverdale had opened their season with a 4-1 over Seafair).
NSWC Bantam A1 Roster:
|1||Donovan Buskey||G||1/29/00||6’2″||202 lbs|
|2||Jackson Shepard||F||2/28/00||5’7″||145 lbs|
|3||Kabir Gill||D||10/8/00||6’1″||195 lbs|
|4||Jayden Lee||D||2/15/01||5’6″||115 lbs|
|6||Sam Pouliot||D||5/4/00||5’10”||135 lbs|
|8||Brendan Kim||D||2/29/00||5’9″||141 lbs|
|9||Liam Kindree||F||1/2/00||5’9″||166 lbs|
|10||Jackson Leppard||F||1/18/00||6’0″||175 lbs|
|15||Logan Doust||F||4/27/01||5’6″||128 lbs|
|17||Hudson Schandor||F||9/29/00||5’3″||114 lbs|
|19||Tyler Ho||F||10/2/00||5’10”||165 lbs|
|21||Dominic Davis||F||6/23/00||5’7″||125 lbs|
|22||Ethan Cap||D||4/17/00||6’1″||191 lbs|
|26||Jonas Harkins||D||12/26/00||5’11”||187 lbs|
|27||Luka Burzan||F||1/7/00||5’11”||155 lbs|
|30||Niklas Hoem||G||1/17/00||5’9″||136 lbs|
|55||Jacob Fournier||F||9/2/00||5’6″||117 lbs|
|77||Ben Landon||F||1/6/00||5’11”||145 lbs|