The BC U16 team looks to be in tough at first glance, after opening with a win at the Canada Winter Games in game 1 vs New Brunswick, and then losing the next two to Manitoba 5-2 and to Ontario 6-4,
Their opening Group A round robin 1-2-0 record was ahead only of winless New Brunswick.
But the Groups are weighted, with Group A and Group B being the top tiers, and therefore automatically advancing the top three from each group to the quarter finals.
So from Pool A, Ontario (3-0), Manitoba (2-1) and BC all advance.
From Group B – Alberta (3-0), Quebec (2-1) and Nova Scotia (OTW-2) advance. The seven and eight spots were decided by a playoff, with the winners (SK and NB) playing the A1 (ON) and B1 (AB) teams.
So A3 BC will advance to meet B2 Quebec in the quarter-final Thursday night.
Although the team lost to favorite Ontario in their last outing, they controlled the play for long stretches during the game, and have to be generally pleased with their overall play and development as a team.
They’ll have to play more disciplined however as penalties cost the team, even though there were only three (plus a misconduct). Ontario scored two power play goals.
Shots in the game were almost even, with 39 for BC, and 40 for Ontario. Jordan Hollett played the full 60 for BC, making 34 saves.
Six different players scored for Ontario.
BC team captain Jordy Bellerive scored twice, with James Malm and Chase Steveson getting the other two.
Stevenson opened the scoring early in the first at even strength, unassisted, before Ontario evened the score and then went ahead to close out the first ahead 2-1.
Bellerive then tied it up on a power play around six minutes into the second on assists from Brett Stapley and Scott Walford, before Ontario took the lead again on an even strength goal around the halfway mark.
Ontario then started with two quick goals to open a 5-2 lead just three minutes into the third, before Malm scored at even strength (Jordan Sandhu, Brendan Semchuk) at 6:08 and then Bellerive scored shorthanded from Justin Almeida to make it 5-4 at the 13:11 mark.
But Ontario answered on the same power play fifteen seconds later to seal the win.
No doubt BC will be hoping for a rematch later in the week.
But first they’ll have to get by Quebec on Thursday.