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B.C.’s Top Young Players Compete at Pacific Elite Prospects Showcase

By Neil Hilts on May 23, 2017

OHA made the trip to Vancouver over May Long weekend and returned with some hardware and a new banner after winning the Minor Atom Division, going undefeated across the weekend. (Courtesy of the Pacific Elite Prospects Showcase)

It’ll be at least a few years before a select few at the Pacific Elite Prospects Showcase can be drafted to the NHL, but some of B.C.’s top skaters from eight to 14 sparked scout interest this past weekend.

The tournament comprises of three age groups ranging from Bantam to Atom with seven total divisions. 

MAJOR BANTAM (2003)

The B.C. Lightning were victorious in the top division, defeating the B.C. Bears 6-2 in the final Monday afternoon. The Lightning were 3-1 in round robin play and played the 4-0 Jr. Riverman in the semis, winning 5-0.

Logan Stankhoven of the Lightning was unstoppable throughout the weekend, scoring 14 goals and 16 points in just six games. He had three hat tricks and at least two points in every game. His teammate, Jake Chiasson, was second in scoring with 10 points. He also recorded a point in every game.

Japanese sensation Aito Iguchi had seven points in five games for the Rivermen, but was held scoreless in the finals. The skilled forward was the talk of the tournament heading in due to his internet notoriety

MINOR BANTAM (2004)

Clinching a spot in the finals like their Major Bantam counterpart, the B.C. Bears clashed with the Selects Hockey B.C. in the championship game, but the Selects won the battle of perfect teams 7-3 behind a third period natural hat trick by Niall Crocker.

It was a heck of a tournament for the Selects, who went 6-0, averaging seven goals per game and allowing just nine total. The Bears were just a step below, finishing 5-1 with 40 goals for and 15 against.

Mateo Mrsic and Mathew Ward of the Bears each had 17 points to lead the scoring charts. Thomas Tien of the Selects scored 12 points to lead his team in scoring.

MAJOR PEEWEE (2005)

Two shutouts and just five goals against all weekend was the story for the Vancouver Vipers who cruised to the Major PeeWee Championship. They dumped the Jr. Steelers Gold 6-1 in the finals.

The teams met in the first game of the tournament and the Vipers won 6-1, but the Steelers Gold couldn’t figure out how to solve them.

Connor Bedard and Andrew Cristall of the Vipers were first in tournament scoring, with Bedard notching 17 and Cristall 14. Oliver Tulk of the Warriors had eight goals to lead that category.

MINOR PEEWEE (2006)

Making sure at least one of the B.C. Bears teams was going home with a championship, the Minor PeeWee squad closed a 2-0 win in the Finals over the Interior Stars.

The Bears’ lone blemish of the tournament was a tie against the Vancouver Selects Blue, but with six other wins, they were dominant. The Stars had two losses in seven games, both at the hands of the Bears.

The scoring race was close, with Clark Caswell of the Stars leading the way at 12, followed by three others at 11.

MAJOR ATOM (2007)

The Major Atom Division featured two incredibly high scoring teams, as both the B.C. Interior Stars and B.C. Bears averaged more than seven goals a game. The two met in the finals, and the Stars’ offence kept going while the Bears faltered. The Stars won 8-2 thanks to four goals from Cameron Schmidt.

In the round robin meeting between the two, the Stars eked out a 6-5 win and apparently didn’t want to leave things so close in the final.

Three players had more than 20 points in seven games: Savin Virk with 23 (Bears), Gavin McKenna with 22 (Stars) and Jakob Oreskovic with 23 (Bears). Schmidt’s 14 goals were first.

MINOR ATOM (2008)

The Minor Atom Division saw anothercase of a B.C. Bears team falling in the finals. OHA, the most travelled team in from the Okanagan, won 4-2, getting two points from the Ruck brothers, Liam and Markus.

With two losses to OHA, the Bears’ weekend was impressive with four other wins, but they couldn’t best the division’s top team.

OHA had the top three scorers: Liam Ruck (22), Markus Ruck (18) and Jonathan Bitonti (15). Tyus Sparks of the Jr. Rivermen found the back of the 12 times in six games.

MAJOR NOVICE (2009)

The youngest skaters at the tournament turned in an entertaining effort and the championship was won by the Fraser Valley Sturgeon. The Sturgeon beat the Jr. Steelers Gold 7-4 in the Finals, clinched by Jacob Dumansky’s third period natural hat trick, the final three goals in the game.

With three shutouts and only one game (the finals) with more than two goals against, the Sturgeon’s stout defence and strong goaltending complemented the high-firing offence.

Liam Pue of the Sturgeons had 12 goals and eighteen points to lead Novices in scoring.

In just the second year of the tournament, this has already grown to be a massive success and should continue to draw the best teams from the province.

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By Neil Hilts| May 23, 2017
Categories:  Minor Hockey
Keywords:  B.C. Minor Hockey

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