Sports

Fourth place for Cowichan in Bantam Tier 1 hockey provincials

Sharp dressed men boarded a bus for the long trip to Prince George for the provincial Bantam Tier 1 hockey championships and back home again. - submitted
Sharp dressed men boarded a bus for the long trip to Prince George for the provincial Bantam Tier 1 hockey championships and back home again.
— image credit: submitted

The Cowichan Valley Tier 1 Bantam Capitals' hockey teamĀ  started slow but finished strong in the provincial championships at Prince George.

The Caps couldn't get untracked in their first game against Kamloops and lost 6-0. Part of the problem was the absence of the team's reliable power play that went 0-for-6.

"Our power play went to sleep in the game,'' said Caps' coach Derek Topping.

But Cowichan rebounded well and posted two wins, a loss and a tie in the next four games to finish in fourth place.

The last game against North Shore Winter Club, the eventual tournament champs, ended in a 1-1 tie.

That was a big difference from two years ago in Peewee when Cowichan lost 16-0 in the provincials to North Shore.

Going into the tournament, Topping felt if the kids went in with the right mindset and played 60 minutes each game, they'd be competitive.

"Even in the games we lost, we had our chances to turn the game around in our favour but were unable to capitalize on our chances early on,'' he noted.

Against Kamloops, "kids were anxious and nervous and just didn't execute the game plan,'' Topping pointed out.

"I think if we saw them at a different point of the tournament, to me that was a team we should have beat.''

Chris Akerman picked up the shutout and goals came from Ben Berard, with two, Dawson Frank, Kei Lowes and Trey Watson in a 5-0 win over host Prince George that followed.

Kyle Topping scored the lone goal in a 5-1 defeat to Burnaby Winter Club.

A 6-4 win over Kelowna featured two more goals from Berard and singles from Topping, Braydon Nelson, Trey Watson and Dylan Hartl.

Topping also had the lone goal in the tie against North Shore.

Burnaby was the other finalist and Cowichan also held it own in that game until the late stages.

"Even the Burnaby Winter Club game, that was 2-1 late in the third,'' said Topping. "When they went up 3-1, we, of course, had to try to take some chances.''

Brad Bagnall, Griffin Webb and Samson Maclean all had strong tournaments. Derek Krall was solid in goal against the two heavyweights, Burnaby Winter Club and North Shore.

Overall, it was a great experience for the boys of bonding on the long bus trip. Derek Topping was grateful for the efforts of bus drivers Neville Townsend and Doug Callsen.

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