Saturday, October 22, 2016
Team BC defeated Team Saskatchewan 2-1 in dramatic fashion to advance to the Gold Medal game where they will face Team Alberta. The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup takes place from October 18 – 23, 2016 at WinSport in Calgary, Alberta.
Team BC came out strong scoring the lone goal in the first period. On the Power Play, Alex Swetlikof (Kelowna, BC) finished a great passing play to give BC the 1-0 lead. In the second, Saskatchewan scored on their power play to tie the game at one (1). The game remained tied until 2:39 left in the third when Josh Williams (Langley, BC) scored to give Team BC the 2-1 edge. Roman Basran (Delta, BC) shut the door in net and BC skated to the 2-1 win.
Team Saskatchewan came out flying of the gate to begin the game scoring two (2) goals in the first five (5) minutes. Team BC’s Ethan Leyn (Anmore, BC) and Logan Doust (North Vancouver, BC) scored late in the period to send the game tied at two (2) to the second period. Early in the second and on the power play, Saskatchewan scored to make it a 3-2 game, but it was short lived with Massimo Rizzo (Burnaby, BC) scoring on the power play. Early in the third Josh Williams (Langley, BC) scored and then Leyh scored his second late to give BC the 5-3 win.
The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup features the highest rated players in the U16 age category representing the four (4) Western provinces of Alberta, BC, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The four (4) team round robin format is the first step in the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence and assists the four (4) western provincial hockey Branches in evaluating the top prospects in this age group for future high performance programs. The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup is made possible through financial support provided by the Western Hockey League (WHL). The majority of players participating in the event were selected in the WHL Bantam Draft in May 2016 and many of these top prospects will play major roles with WHL clubs in the seasons ahead.
Some notable players that have participated as part of Team BC include:
Curtis Lazar – Ottawa Senators
Morgan Reilly – Toronto Maple Leafs
Sam Reinhart – Buffalo Sabres
The U16 Program is the second stage in the BC Hockey High Performance Program, which exposes players, coaches and officials to short term competition. The U16 Program also acts as a precursor to the Hockey Canada High Performance U17 Program, which is used to identify and train players and team personnel for provincial, regional and national teams.