UPDATED: Coquitlam Jr. Adanacs eliminated in Minto Cup finals
When a team comes within two games of winning the Minto Cup, major off-season retooling and personnel changes are usually not necessary.
But that does not mean that Coquitlam Jr. Adanacs general manager Tosh Nishimura won’t be busy this year.
“There is always room for improvement,” he said on Tuesday, three days after his club lost the finals in six games to the Six Nations Arrows. “We are going to sit down and look at what areas we need to fill.”
While many of the players that suited up in the finals are expected to return — only five are graduating out of the league — Nishimura still has several questions he will have to grapple with in the off-season.
With Coquitlam’s Wesley Berg graduating out of the league, the team will need a new captain, and will likely have a new face in net with the departure of Peter Dubenski.
But Nishimura said he won’t have to look far to fill the vacant positions.
He notes that Christian Del Bianco has filled in admirably between the pipes when called upon, and that players like Michael Messenger and Tyler Pace will take over the leadership roles left open by departing players.
“I can’t say enough good things about [Wesley Berg],” Nishimura said. “He is a true leader. Very humble. But we have some good leadership coming down the line.”
However, Nishimura said he will be staying away from the game for at least a month to “get all his marbles back” before concentrating on next year’s roster.
“I’m going to take some time,” he said. “When you go all that way and you don’t get the result, it can be kind of deflating.”
The Adanacs season came to an end on Saturday night when the club lost 14-8 in Game 6 of the Minto Cup finals against the eastern champions the Six Nations Arrows at the Langley Events Centre.
Arrows forward Quinn Powless opened the scoring on the power play early in the game while Coquitlam’s Jake Taylor was serving two minutes for holding.
The Adanacs responded with a goal from Cole Shafer, who buried a pass from teammate James Rahe, with captain Berg factoring in on the second assist.
Forty-seconds later Michael Messenger gave Coquitlam the lead, which held until Six Nations forward Haodais Maracle buried a goal on a delayed call three minutes later.
Six Nations, a club that lost the first two games of the series, began to gain some ground in the second period before taking an insurmountable lead in the second half of the third.
At the 13 minute mark of the final frame, the Arrows scored five unanswered goals — two from Josh Johnson and singles from Johnny Powless, Maracle and Ian Martin — to make it 11-7.
A fourth goal from Coquitlam’s Pace was not enough to turn the tied against the Arrows.
BERG: 'IT SUCKS NOT TO WIN'
Six Nations captain Johnny Powless quickly made it 12-8, before Brendan Montour and Wenster Green both potted empty-net goals.
When the final buzzer sounded the score was 14-8.
Six Nations was held to a dozen goals combined in games one and two but erupted for 19 in game three’s 19-5 win. They evened the series at two with a 10-7 win in game four and then won the pivotal game five 12-7.
“We knew it was a matter of time before we saw their best games,” said Coquitlam coach Neil Doddridge. “They seemed to get better in games three and four. They were transitioning to the ball well and that got us in trouble.”
Wesley Berg was named MVP after leading the Adanacs in scoring in the series with six goals and 16 assists.
“It was a hard-fought series,” he said after the game. “Sometimes the score didn’t really show it. We put it all on the line and we played for each other but it sucks not to win it.”
-with files from GaryAhuja