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Work ethic helps OHA
Okanagan Hockey Academy’s squad won three of four games as they hosted the Canadian Sport School Hockey League Elite 15s last weekend.
The OHA team finished the weekend with a 6-1 loss to Yale Hockey Academy from Abbotsford. Nathan Iannone snapped the shutout on the power play with 4:50 remaining in the game. The OHA opened with an 8-3 win against Calgary’s Edge School. Leading the OHA’s offence was Joshua Coblenz with two goals, while Liam Nijhoff, Daniel Gatenby, William Koop, Taylor Ward, Calvin Rout and Tre Doyon added singles. Spence Eschyschyn made 22 saves for the win.
The OHA then needed overtime to defeat Delta Hockey Academy 4-3. Coblenz, who finished with a hat trick, played hero when he scored with 21 seconds left on a play setup by Riley Hayles and Ward. Iannone opened the scoring in the second period. Zach Kerr made 20 saves, while the OHA peppered 52 at Jeremy Kelleway.
In an exhibition game to kickoff the weekend, the OHA defeated Banff, 4-0. Kerr made nine saves.
“It’s a very competitive league,” said coach Craig Bedard. “Each game is normally a tightly contested one.
What Bedard liked about his team’s play was their work ethic and consistency. In the first three games, the OHA played like they wanted to. With the standings being tight in the Elite 15s league, Bedard wants to see his players build from the weekend as the playoffs near in March. They have one more weekend of league action in Burnaby, which will see them face Yale, Delta, Compete and Burnaby. The Elite 15 league started this season and is designed for 15-year-olds to be scouted by teams in the Western Hockey League, BCHL and Alberta Junior Hockey League. Bedard said it has been met with success.
“A lot of people come and watch the games and are impressed with the speed and the pace of play and the talent level,” he said.
OHA Red in St. Albert.
The OHA Red team won the bantam John Reid Memorial Tournament in St. Albert, Alta, last weekend. The OHA faced the Los Angeles Junior Kings, one of the top five teams in the U.S., and defeated them 6-3. The OHA went undefeated in the round robin picking up wins against the Czech Republic 2-1, host St. Albert Raiders 3-0 and the Winnipeg Monarchs, the top Manitoba team, 6-3.
In quarter-finals, the OHA defeated the Calgary Flames 4-1 setting up a semifinal against the North Shore Winter Club. Trailing 2-0 late in the third period, the OHA played with grit and resiliency, scoring two goals in the last three minutes and force overtime to eventually win 3-2.
The OHA is comprised of top players from around B.C., including locals Shane Farkas, Jordan Schulting and Ethan O’Rourke, who played minor hockey in Penticton, and the United States. Michael Rasmussen made the all-star team as did Jordan Hollett, who was also named top goalie. Rasmussen finished eighth in tournament scoring with eight goals and 11 points in six games. The coaches are Mike Needham, Dixon Ward and Julian Dixon.
The John Reid tournament is one of the most prestigious bantam hockey tournaments in North America, featuring top teams in Western Canada as well as elite teams from the United States and the Czech Republic. Former players in the tournament include NHLers Jarome Iginla, Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Eric Staal, Jonathan Toews and Jordan Eberle.