April 7, 2013, Kindersey, SK
The North Shore Winterhawks Bantam AAA exceptional season ended a game shy of perfect Sunday, at the Western Canadian Bantam championships in snow-swept Kindersley Saskatchewan.
The South Side Athletic Club Lions from Edmonton scored four goals in the second to set up a lead the Winterhawks could not overcome, although they couldn’t have come much closer.
The first two Lions goals were assisted by tournament MVP defenceman David Quenneville, the Lions captain, who then netted the third goal, underscoring his stature as one of the top 1998 prospects in Western Canada.
The Winterhawks had quickly answered the opening Lions goal (by Josh Paterson), on a point shot from d-man Clint Coleburn assisted by Tak Anholt.
But two minutes later the Lions struck like lightning, with two goals in 21 seconds, and for a few shifts the Hawks were thrown off their game, suddenly down 3-1.
But they soon rebounded and were pressing hard, when late in the period the Hawk’s Jordy Bellerive was assessed a double minor for head contact.
The Winterhawks defended furiously against the Lions top powerplay unit, blocking shots and battling in front of the net and along the wall, but with just 8 seconds to go in the kill, Lion’s all-star centre Tyler Benson popped in a loose puck to give the Lions a big 4-1 lead at the end of the second.
But one thing the Winterhawks have shown all year is resilence and tenacity.
They’d come from behind in spectacular fashion against Langley on their way to winning the Chilliwack tournament in October.
And they’d come back from a two goal deficit to beat BWC Bruins in the BC provincial final.
It didn’t take long for the Hawks to show their fans they could do it again. Three minutes into the third, Kevin Wong knocked in a rebound on a shot from Anholt, sparking a new level of intensity.
A minute later, the Lions’ Ryan Anderson was assessed a tripping penalty. And then unbelieveably, 24 seconds later, Quenneville was tossed from the game on a contact from behind call.
Quenneville had not only been a key player in the first three Lions goals; he had proven to be an impressive defensive force as well. Now he was out of the game and the Hawks had a two-man advantage.
As if scripted by a Hollywood screen writer, the Hawk’s pounced on the opportunity. In less than a minute, a point blast from Jordy Bellerive was tipped by Anholt, and suddenly it was 4-3, with 7:30 minutes to play.
But the Lions now showed their toughness, killing the balance of the Quenneville penalty.
There was more drama to come. With 2:15 left, Lions Jacob Thomas was sent to the box on tripping call.
Winterhawks coach Jim Dinwoodie calls a time out to rest his top guns, and pulls goaltender Dorrin Luding – 6 on 4 with a minute a left.
Could there be still more drama in the works?
Well, yes – if you’re a Lions’ fan.
Hawks win the draw and move it to the point – Bensen blocks the point shot and scores an empty netter, 5-3; 51.7 seconds left.
The Hawks battled to the end. Captain Dante Hannoun wins the draw at centre ice, pushes the puck forward and steps around Benson. The Hawks race into the Lions zone, Keyvan Mohktari gets a loose puck in the slots and rings one off the post.
Had that gone in, who knows, perhaps the Hawks could have beaten the Lion’s other tournament all-star, 6’3” goal-tender Stuart Skinner.
In any case, the game was a classic – played with intensity, skill and passion by two very talented teams, lead by two very capable coaching teams in Jim Dinwoodie, Mitch Pinsky, and Graham Acres for the NSWC and Taylor Harnett, Colby McLachlan and Tyler Thomlison for SSAC.
Bronze medal: West Central Wheat Kings (hosts), defeat Winnipeg Hawks, 2-1.
Goaltender: Stuart Skinner, SSAC
Defence: David Quenneville, SSAC
Defence: Nolan Kneen, NSWC
Forward: Tyler Bensen, SSAC
Forward: Dante Hannoun, NSWC
Forward: Nolan Patrick, Winnipeg Hawks.
Scoring Leaders: Seven of top 10 from Finalists
|1||19||Hannoun||Dante||North Shore Winter Club||4||6||6||12||1||0||1||0|
|3||22||Benjafield||Quinn||North Shore Winter Club||4||4||8||12||1||0||1||0|
|4||17||Benson||Tyler||SSAC Southgate Lions||4||6||4||10||3||0||2||6|
|5||5||Quenneville||David||SSAC Southgate Lions||4||3||7||10||1||0||0||12|
|6||16||Bellerive||Jordy||North Shore Winter Club||4||3||5||8||2||0||0||4|
|8||19||Yaremko||Nolan||SSAC Southgate Lions||4||2||5||7||1||0||0||2|
|9||17||Anholt||Tak||North Shore Winter Club||4||5||1||6||0||0||0||8|
|14||9||Mokhtari||Keyvan||North Shore Winter Club||4||4||1||5||3||0||0||4|
|15||18||Tomaras||Peter||SSAC Southgate Lions||4||3||2||5||0||0||0||6|
|16||27||Almeida||Justin||North Shore Winter Club||4||0||5||5||0||0||0||0|
|17||20||Paterson||Josh||SSAC Southgate Lions||4||2||2||4||2||0||1||0|
|18||4||Kneen||Nolan||North Shore Winter Club||4||1||3||4||1||0||0||6|
|22||10||Buziak||Braydon||West Central Wheat Kings||4||2||1||3||1||0||0||2|
|23||14||Wedman||Matthew||SSAC Southgate Lions||4||1||2||3||1||0||0||6|
|24||15||Thomas||Jacob||SSAC Southgate Lions||4||1||2||3||0||0||0||0|
|27||10||Hamblin||James||SSAC Southgate Lions||4||0||3||3||0||0||0||0|
|28||9||Oszytko||Merritt||SSAC Southgate Lions||4||1||1||2||0||0||0||4|
|29||12||Patter||Derek||SSAC Southgate Lions||4||1||1||2||0||0||0||0|
|30||4||Pilon||Garrett||West Central Wheat Kings||4||1||1||2||0||0||1||2|