The Okanagan Hockey Academy Red are this year’s champion of the 36th John Reid Memorial Tournament in St. Albert, defeating the Los Angeles Kings, 6-3 in the final Sunday afternoon.
The Penticton based Academy team was the only team to run the table at the tournament, winning all six games in their march to the championship.
As is often the case in tournament play, the final was in many ways overshadowed by the thrilling close contests that lead up to the championship game.
In the Final OHA built on a 1-0 first period lead, then scored early in the second on two tip ins by Micheal Rasmussen on assists from Scott Walford and Jonathan Smart. OHA then continued to build the lead, capitalizing on a second power play by Rasmussen,his third, on a 5-3, and then another by Jordan Robinson to take a 4-0 lead into the third. At that point the shots were 20-14 OHA.
OHA came out flying and scored #5 just 18 seconds into the third, on a goal by Eathan O’Rourke from Walford. LA then scored two, before Rasmussen scored his fourth goal to regain the four goal lead, 6-2. LA scored once more on a point shot that deflected in off an OHA defender.
Rasmussen not surprisingly was awarded game MVP.
The games leading up to the final were much tougher.
In the semi, OHA were down 2-0 to defending champion North Shore Winter Club with just three minutes to go in the game, before getting their first and then tying the game on an empty netter, to force OT. The momentum carried into the OT when OHA scored on a long shot just 18 seconds into the frame.
In their semi, the Kings had hung on to best a surging Winnipeg Monarchs 5-4. In their their quarter final, the Kings needed a shootout in to overcome PoE 3-2. And they’d lost the tournament opener to NSWC 4-1.
In the bronze medal game, there was plenty of excitement, as North Shore faced off against the Winnipeg Monarchs. NSWC had advanced on a 5-4 OT win over South Side Athletic Club, and the Monarchs came through 0n 5-4 win over #2 ranked Lloydminister Heat.
The first period opened with no scoring, then Winnipeg scored four in the second to take a seemingly commanding 4-1 lead into the third. But it was not to be. Jordy Bellerive scored two goals in the first three minutes of the period, before Brett Stapley evened it up with about ten minutes to go. The tide had swung in a big way, and Stapley topped it off with 7:23 left with his third goal of the game to grab the bronze for the Winterhawks.
In the C Final, another BC team came out on top. After a disappointing 1-2 and your out start to the the tournament, BWC Bruins won the B final 4-3 over the Notre Dame Hounds.
Several BC players were awarded top honors for their play at the tournament.
OHA’s Jordan Hollet was awarded tournament top goaltender. Teammate Michael Rasmussen was named to the Reid division All Star team forward line up.
Three North Shore players were also awarded: Nolan Kneen was named top defenceman in the tourney, Jordy Bellerive was named top forward and Tournament MVP, and forward Brett Stapley joined his teammates on the Iginla All Star team.
Pursuit of Excellence goaltender Liam Hughes was also on the Iginla Team.