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Monday, March 28, 2011

March 30, 2011 newsletter is ready!

The season is starting to wind down now and we in to the most exciting part of the year when playoffs are just wrapping up and provincial camps are beginning. The first provincial camp took place a week ago in Regina with the Sask First tournament. We have a wrap up of the tournament with the rankings being some what adjusted as is always the result after major camps when all the top players are head to head.

I had a chance to speak with a 97 born defenseman from Saskatchewan who you will be hearing a lot from next season. Also, I spoke with a British Columbia forward whose father has NHL bloodlines. And I spoke with a player who is flying under the radar a bit, but for how long?

There is a news and notes section now that will re-cap rumblings in and around the bantam world. This will now be a regular feature through the spring and summer and in to next season as well.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Prince Albert Pirates add another feather in their helmuts!

Courtesy of the Prince Albert Daily Herald
PRINCE ALBERT — Miles Warkentine had four points as the Prince Albert Venice House Pirates were crowned league champs at Kinsmen Arena.

“We’re pretty excited,” said Warkentine, whose third goal of the game Friday proved to be the game, and series, winner in the Centre-Four Hockey League best-of-three final as the Pirates defeated the Warman Wildcats 8-6 to sweep the series.

“We’re not done yet,” added the 15-year-old. “We’ve got work to do with Westerns. We can celebrate for a bit then it’s time to get back to work.”

Prince Albert captured the provincial bantam AA title earlier this month, granting them a berth in the Western Bantam Championship in Winnipeg from April 7 to 10.

The Pirates, undefeated in the regular season, also won gold at four tournaments and lost only twice during the season — to the Wildcats in the provincial round-robin series and early in the season to the Humboldt Broncos in the final of a Melville tournament.

The Melfort Mustangs also managed a pair of ties against the Pirates.

Prince Albert had won Game 1 in Warman on Wednesday 5-2 so it was a must win game for the visitors.

During the first 20 minutes it looked like both teams would hit double digits as it was 4-4 after their opening period and both starting goaltenders — Logan Morhart for the Pirates and Kyle Rahier for the Wildcats — were pulled after allowing three and four goals, respectively.

“In the first period, both teams were just not very good defensively, with just breaking down and little things in our own D-zone,” said Warkentine.

The Pirates winger gave the home side a 1-0 lead only 53 seconds into the game on a nice effort, which saw him carry the puck from behind the net into the slot and slide the puck under Rahier’s stick.

But Wildcats defenceman Ryan Pilon tied the game with a blast from inside the blueline, his first of the period, before Matthew Campese restored Prince Albert’s lead 41 seconds later.

Pilon and Ashton Clark put the Wildcats up 3-2 and Logan Schatz gave the visitors a 4-2 advantage. But Campese’s second and captain Ryan Duret added markers 22 seconds apart to tie the game.

The Wildcats took the game to Prince Albert in the second period, taking a 5-4 lead on a goal by Justice Gardipy.

“They’re a lunch bucket, hard-nosed team,” said Warkentine about Warman’s style of play.

The Pirates slowly took control as the middle frame came to an end as Warkentine put a soft backhander over Ty Keewatin’s shoulder to tie the game at 5-5.

“I think we battled hard, a couple of bad bounces for us,” said Pilon after the loss. “They played good.”

In the third, like the Pirates have done all season, they dominated and it eventually paid off as Warkentine set up Duret’s second of the night before putting his team up 7-5. But, a late power-play goal pulled the Wildcats within one. Duret capped things off with an empty-net goal at 18:42.

Pirates first-year coach Shaun Phaneuf was thrilled with the effort his team displayed in the latter stages of the game.

“I thought we had a great start, fell behind in the middle again — we kind of got caught on our heals a bit with a couple of goals that got scored on us,” said Phaneuf. “I thought we dominated the play in the third.

It’s the first time a Pirates team has won the Centre-Four trophy since 2004-2005.

"It’s the cap to a really great season for us,” Phaneuf added.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BWC 6 - Abbotsford 3.....BWC advances to Westerns

The Western Bantam Hockey Championships set for Winnipeg in a couple weeks now has its final entry.  The BWC Bruins exacted some revenge tonight with a 6-3 win over Abbotsford.  Abbotsford had won the previous two games between the two clubs.

Western Bantam Hockey Championships
Winnipeg Hawks (MB)
Winnipeg Sharks (host)
SSAC Southgate (AB)
Prince Albert Pirates (SK)
BWC Bruins (BC)

I'll have a full preview leading up to the championships.

BWC - Abbotsford in BC Provincial Final

The Abbotsford Hawks defeated the Nanaimo Clippers 4-0 today and will play BWC tonight.  The Hawks were up 4-0 and played AP's in the 3rd period and coasted. Revel, Virtanen, Painchaud and AP player Riebalkan scored for Abby. Star forward Jake Virtanen got booted for Elbow and a hit to the head.  There was a meeting after the game and it looks like he'll be able to play in the final tonight. 

More coming up after the game.

BWC advance to the BC Provincial final with 7-1 win over Cloverdale

BWC have defeated the Cloverdale Colts today 7-1 to advance to the BC Provincial Final tonight against likely Abbotsford.  All Abbotsford has to do to advance is beat Nanaimo who are winless so far in the tournament.  This will likely set-up a PCAHA Final Four re-match in which Abbotsford won.  The Hawks also beat BWC in round robin play here at the provincials.  You have to believe BWC will be out for revenge.  The line of Matt Barzal and Justin Szeto were dynomite today and BWC will look for those pair of 97 born kids to continue that play tonight.

Abbotsford in drivers seat at provincials

The Abbotsford Hawks defeated the Cloverdale Colts last night 5-3 in what was described as a chippy game.  The Colts were without top player Riley Stadel who suffored a concussion in the game vs. Nanaimo.  The Colts also lost their starting goalie after the 2nd period due to a slash.  With the win, Abbotsford just needs to defeat Prince George to advance to the finals.

Their likely oppenent is still very much in the air and will depend on a few factors.

Cloverdale  2-1-1  14-13
-The Colts will need to defeat BWC today to have a chance to advance.  However, with two of the better players out for Cloverdale, including their best player Stadel, I think I'll give this one to BWC.

BWC  3-1-0  30-7
- BWC will just need to defeat Cloverdale today to advance to the final and face Abbotsford once again.  Abbotsford have beaten BWC the last two times they have faced.  You have to believe this would a great matchup and the winner will be advancing to westerns in Winnipeg.

Kamloops 2-1-1  14-8
- Kamloops will likely be able to defeat Prince George in their final game to move to 3-1-1.  In order for them to get in to the final, they will need Clovedale to defeat BWC by a narrow margain.

WHL holds Bantam Draft Lottery Today

As teams across the Western Hockey League get ready for the upcoming 2011 Playoffs, a handful of teams will be looking towards the future today.

The WHL is holding it's annual Bantam Draft Lottery, which will decide the order of the first six picks.

The six non-playoff teams will be the one's taking part, with 21 balls going into the barrel.

Calgary finished the regular season with the league's worst record and has six balls available to be picked. Swift Current has five, Regina has four, Lethbridge has three, Seattle has two, and Kamloops has one.

A team can move up a maximum of two positions in the Bantam Draft. Only one ball is drawn in the Lottery.

Here are the different scenario's that the draft can work out;

1). If Calgary wins the lottery, Calgary will have the first pick, Swift Current will have the second pick, Regina will have the third pick, Lethbridge will have the fourth pick, Seattle will have the fifth pick and Kamloops will have the sixth pick in the first round of the WHL Bantam Draft.

2). If Swift Current wins the lottery, Swift Current will have the first pick, Calgary will have the second pick, Regina will have the third pick, Lethbridge will have the fourth pick, Seattle will have the fifth pick and Kamloops will have the sixth pick in the first round of the WHL Bantam Draft.

3). If Regina wins the lottery, Regina will have the first pick, Calgary will have the second pick, Swift Current will have the third pick, Lethbridge will have the fourth pick, Seattle will have the fifth pick and Kamloops will have the sixth pick in the first round of the WHL Bantam Draft.

*Note: Regina has previously traded their first round pick to Lethbridge, so if a Regina ball is drawn, it will be announced that Lethbridge (from Regina) has won the lottery.

4). If Lethbridge wins the lottery, Calgary will have the first pick, Lethbridge will have the second pick, Swift Current will have the third pick, Regina will have the fourth pick, Seattle will have the fifth pick and Kamloops will have the sixth pick in the first round of the WHL Bantam Draft.

5). If Seattle wins the lottery, Calgary will have the first pick, Swift Current will have the second pick, Seattle will have the third pick, Regina will have the fourth pick, Lethbridge will have the fifth pick and Kamloops will have the sixth pick in the first round of the WHL Bantam Draft.

6). If Kamloops wins the lottery, Calgary will have the first pick, Swift Current will have the second pick, Regina will have the third pick, Kamloops will have the fourth pick, Lethbridge will have the fifth pick and Seattle will have the sixth pick in the first round of the WHL Bantam Draft

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

BC Provincials....BWC 2 - Kamloops 1 - Late Tuesday

Things just got a whole lot more complicated at the B.C. Bantam provincials this afternoon with BWC handing kamloops their first loss and staying alive with the win.  A loss by BWC would've ended any chance of them being able to partake in the final.

Burnaby Winter Club   3-1-0  30-7
- If BWC is able to beat Cloverdale tomorrow morning, they will punch their ticket to tomorrow nights final.  A loss or a tie and it really gets interesting.

Cloverdale  2-0-1  11-8
-Cloverdale have beaten the two weaker teams so far but have an impressive tie to show for themselves against Kamloops.  Cloverdale will have a huge game tonight against Abbotsford and if they are able to defeat them, that would all but knock out Abbotsford.  A loss to Abbotsford and they would be forced to beat BWC.

Kamloops  2-1-1  14-8
-Kamloops has one game remaining against Prince George tonight who have been severly out-matched so they are very likely to win and finish at 3-1-1.  If they end tied in the standings with Abbotsford, they would win the tie-breaker.  If they end tied with Cloverdale, it would come down to goals for and against and that is still up in the air.

Abbotsford  2-1-0  13-10
- Again, a huge game tonight vs. Cloverdale.  A win by Abbotsford tonight, likely means they finish at 4-1-0 with Nanaimo coming up for them tomorrow.  My bet is an Abbotsford win, sets up a BWC/Abbotsford rematch.  A Cloverdale win eliminates Abbotsford and a tie really makes things fun.

B.C. Provincials update

Kamloops        2-0-1  13-6
Abbotsford      2-1-0  13-10
BWC               2-1-0  28-6
Cloverdale       1-0-1  6-5
Nanaimo          0-2-0  2-18
Prince George  0-3-0  8-25

First up this morning, Cloverdale will look to move past both Abbotsford and BWC and in to 2nd place with a win over struggling Nanaimo.  Kamloops will look to basically knock BWC out of the tournament and any chance of going to Westerns with a win at 2pm PST today.  The other big game today will be Abbotsford and Cloverdale in the final game of the day.  The winner of this game will likely have a very good chance of making the B.C. provincial final.

As expected, this tournament is a four horse race at this point.  However, many thought BWC and Kamloops would be meeting in the final on Sunday.  For this to happen, the games would have to shake down like this:

Abbotsford - It looks like the worst Abbostford will finish is 3-2-0, if they lose to Cloverdale today.  They wrap up with Nanaimo tomorrow.  If they beat Cloverdale, they will finish at 4-1-0 and due to a win over BWC already, they would advance to the final.  Huge game vs. Cloverdale tonight.

Here is an article from the Abbotsford news on the early success in the tournament:

Cloverdale - Cloverdale is still without a loss.  They had a very big tie against Kamloops yesterday but still have tough games against BWC and Abbotsford.  I think it could be tough for them to win both games, although weirder things have happened.  However, if they beat Abbotsford tonight to go to 3-0-1, they may be able to lose to BWC and still have a chance.

Kamloops - Kamloops is 2-0-1 and can all but punch their ticket to the finals with a win over BWC today.  Kamloops finishes up with Prince George tomorrow.  The worst Kamloops will finish is 3-1-1.

BWC - BWC started the tournament with a key 3-2 loss to host Abbotsford.  They then clobbered Prince George and Nanaimo.  BWC have a huge game with Kamloops today and loss will end it for them.  However, if they are able to win, they'd go to 3-1-0 and would then hold their own destiny with a win over Cloverdale.

In closing, lots can happen but it is looking more and more that it won't be BWC/Kamloops in the final.  It is looking like B.C. Champion and host Abbotsford is going to make it.

As expected Cloverdale have defeated Nanaimo 5-3 this morning.  The win now puts Cloverdale in to a tie for first place with Kamloops at 2-0-1.  They will now face Abbotsford in a game that if they win, could find themselves in the final with a Kamloops win over BWC today.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bantam Round Up

The Winnipeg Hawks scored a whopping 55 goals in 4 games en route to the Manitoba Provincial title.  The Hawks flew past the Brandon Wheat Kings in the final 15-3.  The Hawks scored 5 goals in each period on Sunday and were led by Maverick Rafter with 3-3-6.  The tournament scoring leader Dane Schioler scored 2-3-5 and Dallas Starodub had 3 goals.  Brett Kitt for Brandon has one assist but ended the tournament with an impressive 15 points.  Brandon scored 25 goals in the tournament, so Kitt was in on 60% of the goals.

The Abbotsford Hawks once again defeated BWC yesterday at the BC provincials.  Here is a bit of a preview courtesy of Dan Kinvig of the Abbotsford News.

Mark Hunter of the Kamloops Daily News speaks with Kamloops coach Don Schulz in regards to their chances at provincials.

Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week talks to a few of the Blazers players about the tournament shortly after coloring their hair blonde.

Early results from the BC Provincials:
Abbotsford 3 - BWC 2  - Jordan Kawaguchi with a pair of goals for Abby.
Cloverdale 4 - Prince George 3
Kamloops 6 - Nanaimo 1
Abbotsford 7 - Prince George 3 - Bamford with 2, Virtanen 2-3-5, Skapski scored for Abby.
BWC 12 - Nanaimo 1
Kamloops 2 - Cloverdale 2 - Nick Fidenza and Joe Hicketts scored for Kam and

Western Canada Bantam Championship
Winnipeg Hawks
Winnipeg Sharks (host)
Prince Albert Pirates
SSAC Southgate
BC Rep

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quick Sunday Update

Abbotsford has beaten BWC in today's first game at the BC Bantam provincials.  This has to be considered a minor upset but you have to remember they have now beaten BWC twice in a row, going back to the Final four in the PCAHA where they won the league title.  Congrats on a fast start for Abbotsford who just may be peaking at the right time.

In other news...SSAC Southgate Lions have defeated the Calgary Bisons 3 games to 1 and have advanced to westerns in Winnipeg.  They will be joined thus far by the Prince Albert Venice House Pirates who went undefeated in league play in the Centre Four Hockey League and the host Winnipeg Sharks.  The Winnipeg Hawks went in through the front door with a Manitoba Championship final win over Brandon today.

The Winnipeg Hawks ended up defeating Brandon 15-3 in the Manitoba Provincial Final.  Adam Brooks was 2nd in the tournamend with 17 points in 4 games.  His team mate Dane Schioler had 8-10-18.  Adam is expected to be selected in the top couple rounds, perhaps even first round.

So we are just waiting on the B.C. rep which his far from over and we won't find out until Friday who the rep will be in B.C.  However, it looks like Abbotsford may throw a wrench in to BWC and Kamloops plans perhaps.

More later.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

BC Provincials Preview

The B.C. Bantam Provincials are set to get underway this weekend in Abbotsford.  At this point, it looks to be a 2 team race with Kamloops and BWC the favorites.  However, one has to remember that Abbotsford did knock off Burnaby Winter Club in the final four in B.C.  Cloverdale has also proven they can be competitive led by a young group of forwards and capable goaltending and defense.  Here is a preview of the top 4 teams.


Kamloops Jardine Blazers

Possibly the favorites going in to the tournament have had great success this year in several major tournaments in BC and Alberta. Key players to watch for include Ryan Gropp and Chad Butcher on Forward, and Joe Hicketts on Defense. Kamloops also has decent goaltending, and more than one line that can score. Kamloops are a balanced team overall with good speed and finish. This team has found a way to win against some of the top teams and will not go away easily.

KINGPIN: Joe Hicketts - The diminutive defenseman led all BC bantam defenseman in +/- with an outstanding +104. Hicketts will block shots, hit everyone in his wake and also put up 21-44-65 in just 55 games.

Burnaby Winter Club Bruins

Best League play record in BC going undefeated this year. BWC plays the best overall team game of any of these teams, and are deadly on the power play. Balanced team with a few standout players but overall just great team systems play. Lead by 97’s Barzal and Chris Seto, along with 96’s Dombrovsky, Cam Seto, Del Grosso. Look for a challenge from BWC for top spot. They are very consistent, great power- play, and a patient team. With good discipline and special teams that could be the difference for BWC. This team doesn’t take many penalties.

Kingpin: Matt Barzal – Since a young age, Matt has drawn natural comparisons to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Both have had huge minor hockey careers with with the BWC program and both play a similar style. It will be interesting to see if Barzal can lead his team to the championship. Odds are likely he’ll go #1 in 2012.

Abbotsford Hawks

Improving all year long, Abby recently upset BWC 5-2 at the final Four to earn a spot through the front door of Provincials. Potentially the best set of forwards at the Provincials, Abby has a combination of speed and enough grit to play with anyone. Lead by 96 Forwards Jake Virtanen, Skapski, Bamford, and others this group will contend with BWC and Kamloops for top spot. Abby is not as strong overall on the back end but has seen steady improvement on D and in goal. They have the potential to outscore any of the teams at the tournament which may be what they need to do to win the Provincials. They have a great Power play, but they also must keep out of the penalty box.

Kingpin: Jake Virtanen – Jake is a phenominal skater who loves to take the body and play with an edge. His stick handling abilities and hockey sense will be on display this weekend. Virtanen was the leading scorer in the PCAHA this season with 62-45-107 in just 55 games. Jake also accumulated 124 pims and was a +64.

Cloverdale Colts

With a 6-4 win over Seafair at the final 4 Cloverdale earned a spot in the Provincials and will provide a challenge to the top three of Abby, BWC, and Kamloops. These teams will have to keep in mind that Cloverdale has had wins against Kamloops and Abby this year, but not against BWC. A combination of a strong Defense and Goaltending Lead by Riley Stadel on D, this fairly speedy team has to find a way to capitalize on opportunities and bury their chances to advance. Has a chance against any of these teams 5 on 5, and will potentially upset one or two of the top three but they need to stay out of the penalty box (atop the penalty minutes in PCAHA Tier 1 with an average of 16 minutes per game). The team also requires more consistent scoring to challenge ABBY/BWC/Kamloops for top spot.

Kinpin: Riley Stadel – Riley is an offensive defenseman who makes a tremendous first pass, sees the ice well and has an above average shot. Lately he’s developed a good two-way game and will be heavily relied upon in this tournament.

Team Ranking by position (Survey)
1.  Kamloops Jardine Blazers
2.  Abbotsford Hawks
3.  BWC Bruins
4. Nanaimo Clippers
5. Cloverdale Colts
6. Prince George Cougars
1.  BWC Bruins
2.  Kamloops Jardine Blazers
3.  Cloverdale Colts
4.  Abbotsford Hawks
5.  Nanaimo Clippers
6.  Prince George Cougars
1. Cloverdale Colts
2. Kamloops Jardine Blazers
3. BWC Bruins
4. Prince George Cougars
5. Abbotsford Hawks
6. Nanaimo Clippers

Monday, March 14, 2011

March 16, 2011 newsletter is now ready!

The season is winding down with provincial camps looming which will have a huge impact on the final lists. The Western Canada Bantam Championship in Winnipeg are just around the corner as well. Saying that, we've added 50 more prospects to the 1996 born list which has now become a Top 200.

In this edition, I spoke with the next star who is committed to coming to the WHL from California. Should go in the first round. I spoke with a top defenseman for the draft as well from Colorado who should go very high. Finally, I had a chance to speak with another first round candidate from Alberta.

Also, the dates are set for all provincial camps and westerns. They are included.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Road to Westerns

The first team has been decided for the Western Canada Bantam Championships in Winnipeg. The Winnipeg Hawks defeated the Winnipeg Sharks last night 6-0 to take the series 4-0. Winnipeg will now advance to the Provincial Final Four which takes place in Brandon beginning next weekend. The other teams taking part will be the host Brandon Wheat Kings, Southwest Jets, Southeast Blizzard. The overwhelming favorites to win the final four will be the Winnipeg Hawks. A Hawks win, means they would go in as Team Manitoba and the Winnipeg Sharks would be hosts. If they happen to get upset, which is highly unlikely, would mean they would go in as hosts.

In Prince Albert, the Prince Albert Venice House Pirates defeated the Saskatoon Maniacs in game 1 of a two game total goal series 7-2. The Maniacs will now have to outscore the Pirates by atleast 5 goals back in Saskatoon on Saturday to force OT. The Pirates got off to a big of a sluggish start being outshot 12-4 in the first period but Pirates goalie Logan Morhart kept it close. Reed Gunvills opened the scoring and Dawson Leedahl replied for Saskatoon for a 1-1 tie after period one. The Pirates went up 3-1 in the 2nd period with a couple quick goals by Matthew Campese and Lance Yaremchuk but Eric Climenhaga scored shortly after to cut the gap to 3-2 after 40 minutes. In the 3rd, defenseman Bryton Sayers set up 3 goals and scored the final goal and all told had a 5 point night for the Pirates.

The AMBHL final schedule is out and it will begin this Saturday and Sunday in Calgary for a pair of contests. The Calgary Bisons and Edmonton SSAC were in the WEHP Top 10 all season long and had the top two records in the AMBHL. They were the only two teams to crack 50 points with the Bisons finishing just 1 point ahead at 27-4-2 while SSAC was 26-4-3. The Bisons scored the most goals in the league by far and 44 more than SSAC but SSAC allowed the 2nd least in the league and 26 fewer than Calgary. The series features the leagues leading scorer in Brayden Point and the North/South winners for goalies of the year in Adin Hill and Jordan Papirny. The rookie of the year came from SSAC in Giorgio Estephan who had over 60 points. The Bisons feature South defenseman of the year in Brycen Martin. John Quennville of SSAC was named North top forward.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Abbotsford Hawks pulled off what many consider to be a major upset in the PCAHA Final Four over the weekend. Head coach Troy Campbell told Dan Kinvig of the Abbotsford News that the club is peaking at the right time. "From the opening drop of the puck to the final buzzer, we just out-played them in all three zones. All our players played their roles to a T. We had the bangers banging, all the defencemen were strong, goaltending was great, and the goal-scorers did their job and put the puck in the net."

The Hawks got 2 goals from first round candidate Jake Virtanen and also a pair from Mitchell Skapski. Captain Francis Bamford added a single marker for Abbotsford.

So now, Abbotsford will move on to the BC provincials through the front door as champions and hosts. They will be joined by BWC, Prince George, Nanaimo, Cloverdale and Kamloops. Kamloops will have to be considered the fafavorite heading in with BWC and Abbotsford having sights on an upset.


The Edmonton SSAC Soutgate Lions wrapped up the AMBHL North final with a narrow 2-1 victory over Leduc. Riley Simpson scored the GWG with just one minute remaining in the contest and added an assist. Trevor Posch capped off a strong playoff with Leduc's lone goal. SSAC will now move on to play the Calgary Bisons in what should be a fantastic final, with the winner advancing to westerns held in Winnipeg from April 7-10.


Saskatchewan Playoff round-up
Centre Four Hockey League
The semi-finals are set in the centre four hockey league.

The Prince Albert venice house Pirates were able to knock off a game Meadow Lake squad 9-7 in the final game to win the 2 game total goal series 19-9.

The Humboldt Broncos proved too strong for Tisdale, outscoring them 16-3 in the two game series. Reid Gardiner has been a force in the playoffs so far and has scored 86 goals combined in playoff, tournament and league play.

Warman came back to defeat Battleford in game 2 by a score of 16-1. this coming after Battleford stunned them 3-2 in game 1. Top ranked Ryan Pilon had a 8 point game for Warman.

The final team to advance was Melfort who beat Unity 14-10 in the 2 games. Melfort will now move on to the semi's.

Prince Albert at Melfort (March 14)
Melfort at Prince Albert (March 16)

Warman at Humboldt (March 11)
Humboldt at Warman (March 12)


The Winnipeg Hawks are one game away from winning the Winnipeg Bantam AAA league after winning 12-4. The Hawks have outscored the Sharks 27-9 in the 3 wins. Game 4 will go tomorrow night at the Ed Golding arena.

The Manitoba "AA" draws are at an end. Steinbach defeated Morden by a score of 3-2 to capture the 9 team tournament. In the Rurul "AA" tournament which featured many good teams, it was the Southwest Jets defeating Interlake 4-3 in the final. The pre-tournament favorite Russell Rams lost the Bronze final. Russell received a big blow prior to the tournament with 96 Jayce getting hurt. The Manitoba Final four will shake down like this:
Winnipeg Bantam AAA champions (looks like the Winnipeg Hawks)
Southeast Blizzard
Southwest Jets

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Evening

The Edmonton SSAC are one win away from advancing to the AMBHL finals against the Calgary Bisons as they beat Leduc 7-2 this afternoon to take a 2-1 series lead. SSAC scored 4 times on 18 shots in the first period on goalie Nolan Kruizenga and then extended their lead to 6-1 a few minutes in to the 2nd period, chasing the starting net-minder. Giorgio Estephan and John Quennville both scored twice in chasing Kruizenga. Both players finished with 3 point games. Jordan Papirny stopped 23/25 shots in the win. Game 4 go's Tuesday night in Leduc.

The final four of the B.C. PCAHA tournament for the provincial rep is complete now with Abbotsford stunning BWC 5-2 in the final. Abbotsford is the host of the provincials which take place from March 20-25 and will also include VIAHA rep Nanaimo and OMAHA rep Kamloops. Cloverdale will also take part as well as Prince George, along with BWC.

In the Winnipeg Bantam AAA playoffs, it was the Winnipeg Hawks taking the first two games of a best of seven finals by scores of 11-3 and 4-2. Adam Brooks led the way over the weekend with 4 goals. Nick Matthews scored twice in the 11-3 victory. Schioler had 1-2-3 over the weekend. Game 3 go's Tuesday.

Pacific and Rocky Mountain District tournaments complete

It will the LA Selects representing the Pacific District at Nationals as the defeated the Anchorage North Stars 7-1 in the final this afternoon in San Jose California. The LA Selects had a perfect 3-0-0 round robin record defeating the Sno-King Jr. Tbirds out of Seattle (13-0), North Alaska Grizzlies (5-0) and the host San Jose Jr. Sharks (5-1) to advance to the semi-finals and a date with San Jose. In the semi-final, LA Selects broke a 3-3 tie with just under 10 minutes remaining on a goal by captain Brian Williams. Ethan Somoza also scored twice for LA. The Selects were without one of their top players in Steven Owre in this one. He was suspended in round robin action for one game after receiving a game misc for unsportsmanlike conduct. Owre has confirmed his intention and playing in the WHL and is currently one of our top ranked American prospects for the draft. Owre and his family are originally from Edmonton. In the final, the met Anchorage North Stars who proved to be no match at all in what was a 7-1 LA victory and they out-shot Achorage 39-10. LA got 2-3-5 from Steven Owre and a pair of goals from Griffin Bennetti. Star defenseman Patrick Newell had 1-2-3. Lane Bauer from Anchorage led all players with 8 goals in the tournament and led all players with 13 points. Taylor Vickerman was a stand-out as expected for Spokane, who fell in the semi's to achorage. Vickerman had 6-1-7 in the tournament and was a force. Steven Owre was likely the MVP, although I didn't get word officially on that.

Rocky Mountain District
The Rocky Mountain District tournament is complete and not too surprising it was the Colorado Thunderbirds winning in the final by a score of 7-1 over the Rocky Mountain Roughriders. Dominic Turgeon was a force in the final with 3-2-5 and Fredrik Olofsson had 1-3-4. Colorado was able to advance to the final with a 6-3 victory over Dallas Alliance in the semi's. Tanner Smith had a pair of goals and Turgeon along with Olofsson had 2 points each. Colorado scored 5 3rd period goals in that one and were able to hold off Jet Bell who scored 4-1-5.

AMBHL All-Stars Announced

Defenseman of the year
North - Zach Gonek
South - Brycen Martin

Forward of the year
North - John Quennville
South - Ty Mappin

Goalie of the year
North - Jordan Papirny
South - Adin Hill

Rookie of the year
North - Giorgio Estephan
South - Mason McCarty

North - Thomas Foster
South - Brayden Point

Top Scorer
North - John Quennville
South - Brayden Point

North - Tim Green - Camrose
South - Mickey Kluner - Calgary Royals

Yesterday in the AMBHL playoffs, it was Leduc defeating Edmonton SSAC 6-3 to even the series up at 1-1. Trevor Posch scored twice for Leduc and Kord Pankewicz picked up a pair of helpers. Nolan Kruizenga was outstanding in goal stopping 49/52 shots in the win. For SSAC, John Quennville had 2 assists and Jordan Papirny was less than stellar turning aside 31/37. Game 3 go's this afternoon in Edmonton.

In the Calgary Bisons/Red Deer White series it was a 3 game sweep for the Bisons to advance to the league final. The Bisons top line of Point/Macmaster proved far too much for the Red Deer squad in this series as the Bisons outscored them 17-7. In the deciding game Point and Macmaster each had 2-1-3 and Brycen Martin had 3 assists.


The Saskatchewan bantam AA final will begin on Thursday in Prince Albert as the Prince Albert venice house Pirates will host the Saskatoon Maniacs. Game 2 will go on Saturday back in Saskatoon. The winner of the two game total goal series will advance to the Western Bantam Hockey Championships in Winnipeg come early April.

Speaking of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Bantam AAA final is set with the top ranked Winnipeg Hawks taking on the Winnipeg Sharks. The Hawks defeated the Monarchs in 5 games while the Sharks made quick work of the Warriors, defeating them in 4 straight. It is likely that both will be present in the Westerns as Winnipeg is the host this year.

The PCAHA final four is taking place this weekend and will wrap up today as BWC (2-0-0), Abbotsford (1-1-0), Seafair (1-0-0) and Cloverdale (0-2-0) are all looking to move on to the provincials. Seafair will play Cloverdale today and BWC will play Abbotsford. It looks as though both Abbotsford and BWC will advance to the provincials as Abbotsford is the host and BWC looks to be winning the final four.

Nanaimo will be heading to provincials as they were able to defeat the Victoria Raquet Club 6-3 and 5-2 in the VIAHA Tier 1 final. In league play Nanaimo was quite easily the top team as at last check they were 8-0-0 in league play.

Kamloops Jardine Blazers have also advanced to provincials after defeating Kelowna Jr. Rockets in a pair of games. They closed the deal with a 6-3 win Friday night to advance. Of course the Blazers of had a tremendous season with a couple tournament victories and should give BWC all they can handle at Provincials. Abbotsford and Nanaimo will definitely not be pushovers either. So far in the playoffs, Chad Butcher has led the way offensively with 6-3-9 in 3 games while Ryan Gropp 3-4-7 and Monty Chisholm 2-6-8 have provided ample scoring. Joe Hicketts has been an absolute force on defense picking up points, blocking shots and hitting everyone in sight. So far this season in total, Chad Butcher has scored 63-72-135 in 55 games. Butcher was also a +107 and was one of three Blazers who were over +100 joining Hicketts (+102) and Gropp (+100) The Blazers also have Ryan Gropp who topped 100 points with 56-57-113. Bolduc (45) and Barker (37) have showed that can score as well.

The BC provincial tier 1 tournament will take place in Abbotsford from March 20-25, 2011 at the MSA Arena.

A final note from the weekend is that Jaeger White was in on all 10 goals his team scored in a split over the weekend with Lethbridge in SCAHL Peewee hockey action. White scored 7-3-10 points over the weekend in his first two playoff games.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rocky Mountain Districts tournament underway today

The Rocky Mountain District tournament will kick off today in Dallas. This tournament will basically cover the rest of the WHL territory as the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes who took part in the St. Albert tournament will be joined by the Dallas Alliance Bulldogs, Rocky Mountain Roughriders, Colorado Thunderbirds, Pikes Peak Miners and Dallas Stars Elite.

Pool A:

Rocky Mountain Roughriders

After winning the NAPHL championship, the Rocky Mountain Roughriders are now 21-22-6 and currently on a three-game win streak. This season, they have wins against the No.22 LA Selects, No.13 Colorado Thunderbirds and Florida Everblades. Between the pipes this weekend will be either Dean Shatzer or Alex Corley, both of whom have played well this season. Protecting them will be defensemen Brendan Knox, Matt Nehls, Mike Leslie, Ben Gundry, Cameron Spicer and Robbie Lantz, while Rider Stoglin, Will Graber, Brandon Fushimi, Jack Atteridg, George Lund, Cade Warner, Matt Donnelly, Keanu Gallegos, Sage Marshall, Chris Lugg, Chris Doyle and Collin Bitter are expected to help out offensively. They open with a game against the Dallas Stars Elite before taking on the Colorado Thunderbirds and Pikes Peak Miners.

Dallas Alliance Bulldogs
The Dallas Alliance Bulldogs have gone 2-2-1 in their last five games and now hold an overall record of 19-21-3. Throughout the season, they have earned wins against the No.11 Chicago Young Americans, Dallas Stars Elite, NPI Leafs and Valley Jr. Warriors Elite. They are led by their high-powered offense, which will be relying on forwards Tristan Greenwell, Tyler Scroggins, David Cotton, Joey Sardina, Jet Bell, Garrett Hallford, Jake Hagstrom and Andrew Eberwein to put the puck in the net. On the blue line will be defensemen Landon Gumbert, Jake Shell, Johan Steen, Connor Smith and Justin Herbst in front of goalies Alex Gross and Josh Pippin.

Phoenix Jr. Coyotes
Rounding out Pool A are the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, who enter the weekend with wins over tournament opponents, the Dallas Stars Elite and Rocky Mountain Roughriders. Goaltenders Samual Kany and Forbes Ploszaj have played well all year, allowing a combined 3.19 goal against per game while their offense is led by Anthony Abbadessa, John Yoder, Adam Zimmerman, Derek Brown, Nick Novin, Daniel Zimmerman, Robbie Goldsmith, Todd Burgess, Eric Pritchard, Cole Bisbing and Michael Roshold. Their first game is against the Pikes Peak Miners.

Pool B:

Colorado Thunderbirds
The No.13 Colorado Thunderbirds are currently 33-15-4 and have gone an impressive 8-1-0 in their last nine games. This season, the team has picked up big wins over the No.14 Tampa Bay Lightning, No.15 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and No.4 Shattuck St. Mary’s and has gone 14-1-2 in their games against the Rough Riders, Stars, Miners and Jr. Coyotes. In their 53 games this season, their offense, led by Brock Stashick, Scott Eansor, Tanner Smith, Louis Park, Mikey Eyssimont, Dominic Turgeon, Dylan Plsek, Mason Peterson, Brandon Carlo and Fredrik Olofsson has scored 203 goals while goalies Cale Morris and Danny Mumaugh have only allowed a combined 104.

Dallas Stars Elite
At 17-35-1, the Dallas Stars are a well-balanced team that knows it must concentrate on defensive zone coverage to succeed this weekend. In between the pipes are goalies Brock Thompson and Troy LoBue while clearing the front will be defensemen Caleb Waters, Chris Barrett, JB Baum, Justin Pouliot and Jack Duhe. In the Stars’ opening game they will take on the Rocky Mountain Rough Riders, who they have gone 2-0 against this season.

Pikes Peak Miners
Despite having a record of 13-29-4, the Pikes Peak Miners have multiple wins against the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders and have tied the No.20 TPH Thunder. The Miners will look to get off to a fast start when they take on the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes in their first game on Thursday and will rely on goaltenders Quinton Reynolds and Jeremy Hammerquist to give them a chance this weekend.

USA Pacific District Tournament to get underway today

In San Jose, CA today the Pacific District tournament will begin, featuring 6 of the top teams from that area of the US. Here are the teams who will be taking part with a bit of a preview on each squad.

North Alaska Grizzlies
The Grizzlies haven’t ventured much outside of Alaska this season, but do have wins over the Anchorage North Stars and Alaska All-Stars and a tie against the California Wave (#7 U.S. Tier II) and came in 2nd in the ASHA and Alaska State Tournament. Offensively, the team is led by Mason Graves, who has 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points, Eric Weber, who has 25 points, and Ty Munson, who has 22 points. In net, goalies Nathaniel Brose and Matt Taylor have both been stellar, only allowing a combined 53 goals this season while registering 466 saves. On Thursday, the Grizzlies will kick off the district tournament with a game against the Spokane Jr. Chiefs.

San Jose Jr. Sharks
At 15-21-2, the Jr. Sharks enter the tournament with wins over the Dallas Stars Elite, Philadelphia Jr. Flyers and Rocky Mountain Roughriders, as well as a huge victory over the #22 LA Selects. In league play, San Jose finished the regular season tied for 3rd in the NAPHL and were led offensively by Carson Kelley, Robert Durst, Austin Elchinoff, Max Nylander and Jack Cleaver. During the preliminary round, they are scheduled to play the Anchorage North Stars, Spokane Jr. Chiefs and LA Selects.

Sno-King Jr. Thunderbirds
The Jr. Thunderbirds are coming off a 5-4 win over the Tri-City Jr. Americans after coming in 2nd in the state championships. In addition, they also have wins this season over the Seattle Juniors 97 (#8 Tier II) and Kent Valley Rainiers. They open the tournament with a game against the LA Selects.

LA Selects
Currently ranked 22nd in the country, the Selects are tournament favorites with a record of 21-11-7. Of LA’s many accomplishments this season, the Selects won the LA Super96 Series and have ties against #7 Team Comcast and #8 Little Caesars. In addition, they also have multiple wins over tournament opponent, the San Jose Jr. Sharks. Brian Williams, Steven Owre, Ethan Somoza, Patrick Newell and Griffin Bennetti lead their offense while defensemen Evan Nythus, Wesley Varrasso, Aidan Vasquez, Christian Hausinger, Ethan Montoya, Robbie McClellan and Brendan Russ have been playing well in front of goalies Tyler Caronia and Alexsandr Zendejas. The Selects first tournament game is March 3rd against the Sno-King Jr. Thunderbirds.

Spokane Jr. Chiefs
In the last month, the Jr. Chiefs went undefeated in the Tier 1 Washington State Championships and then competed in the Minnesota Super96 Series, where they beat the Dallas Stars Elite and Madison Capitols and had a one-goal loss to #4 Shattuck St. Mary’s. In addition, Spokane also had a pair of wins over the Bozeman Icedogs AA last weekend and is now 40-17-3 with wins over the Sno-King Jr. Thunderbirds and San Jose Jr. Sharks.

Anchorage North Stars
The Anchorage North Stars enter districts after going 7-0-1 in the ASHA and 5-0 in the Alaska State Tournament. Goalie Davis Kitagawa has been excellent in net all season, registering a combined 188 saves and allowing only 12 goals in 13 games. Offensively, the team is led by Lane Bauer, Aidan Teilborg, Drake Glover, Howard Yawit, Hunter Garris and Edgar Gonzalez. The North Stars open the tournament on March 3rd with a game against the host team, the San Jose Jr. Sharks.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sask First Rosters Announced

The Sask First tournament, featuring 8 different zones and 160 players will take place in Regina at the Cooperators Centre from March 18-20. At the completion of the tournament, there will be a top 40 team selected of 24 fowards, 12 defenseman and 4 goalies.

Wednesday, March 2nd

The Winnipeg Bantam AAA playoffs nicely underway and it was the Winnipeg Sharks earning a sweep over the 3rd ranked Winnipeg Warriors in four straight. The Sharks seemingly had no problems as they out-scored the Warriors in the four games 23-9 and scored 20 goals in their final 3 game to advance to the league final against either the top ranked Hawks or the 4th ranked Monarchs. Speaking of those two teams, they are locked in a series still with the Hawks leading the series 3-1. The Monarchs were able to play another day as they defeated the Hawks last night 3-2 in OT. The Hawks will try to wrap things up on Thursday night to advance to the final and a showdown with the Sharks.

The provincial final is set in Saskatchewan to see who will be advancing to the Western Canadian Bantam Championship set for Winnipeg in April. The GSHL representative Saskatoon Maniacs were able to out-score the SSBHL rep Balgonie Prairie Storm by scores of 6-4 and 5-4 to advance to the provincial final. Their opposition will be the Prince Albert Venice House Pirates who rolled through the playoffs and the regular season.

The Pirates went through the whole season and playoffs with just one loss and that came in the league final to the Warman Wildcats 5-4. The Pirates were led this season by a tremendous offensive attack in which they scored 249 in 24 league games, which is over 10 GPG! Ryan Duret led the league in scoring with 53-56-109 which was 28 points more than the next player. Warkentine, Yaremchuk and 97 born Matt Campese all scored over 33 goals. From defense, Jordan Harris who named to the all-star team in every tournament this season leads the way and scored 10-24-34 in 23 games and Bryton Sayers will also be looked upon. If there is one slight weakness, it may be in goal where Morhart and Toporowski have had a few ups and downs but are still strong.

The Saskatoon Maniacs finished first in the GSHL with a modest 14-6-4 record in the very competitive GSHL. The Maniacs have a few players who can really put the puck in the net, including Dawson Leedahl, Rod Southem and 97 born pint sized forward Jimmy Lambert who could be a top 2 rounder next season. On defense, Connor Swystun leads the way and of course in goal the Maniacs may have the top one in the entire province in Rylan Paranteau.

The teams met in the tournament final in Prince Albert back on December 12th with the Prince Albert squad winning 6-4. In that tournament, there were several players from those teams who made the all-star teams including: Ryan Duret, Miles Warkentine, Jordan Harris (D) and Saskatoon Maniacs goaltender Rylan Paranteau. These teams were named by the scouts in attendance.

At the Regina tournament, the two teams didn't meet but Prince Albert won the "A" final while the Maniacs won the "B" final. Both Rylan Paranteau and Jordan Harris were named to the tournament all-star teams again. Paranteau was also named all-star goalie in the only other major Saskatchewan tournament in Saskatoon in early January. If the Maniacs are going to win, they'll need a strong effort from Rylan agains the fire power of the Pirates.

The AMBHL playoffs begin tonight with Leduc playing SSAC and the Calgary Bisons playing host to the Red Deer Rebels White. The Bisons won all three matchups vs. Red Deer White in the regular season, scoring 21 goals in the 3 games. While SSAC and Leduc played twice with each team winning a game.

Leduc, who can score with a very balanced attack will need a strong performance from goalie Nolan Kruizenga. Leduc had a very impressive 6 players who scored 15 or more goals this season. Kord Pankewicz will be looked upon to log a lot of minutes and provide ample offence from the back end if Leduc is to have a chance in this one. Leduc also has 2 of the top penalty minute leaders in the league in Trevor Posch who was 2nd with 134 and Tyler Dorval with 110. For SSAC, it starts from the goalie out as they have a very deep team and should be favored to win this season. Jordan Papirny could be the top goalie in the league and should go in the top few rounds of the draft. Papirny and Daniel Robinson split duties in the regular season in goal but Papirny had a save percentage .49 better and his 1.81 GAA compares to Robinson at 3.00. Pretty safe to say that Papirny will start every game. Aaron Irving and Zach Patterson will anchor the defense and both players will go in the top 2 round of the bantam draft in May. Forwards John Quennville, Riley Simpson and 97 born star forward Giorgio Estephan will anchor things up front. Estephan scored 27-37-64 as a first year bantam.

The Calgary Bisons were the only team in the league to crack 200 goals, scoring a whopping 217. Brayden Point led the league in scoring with 102 points and Tanner Macmaster fired in 49 goals and 92 points this season. It doesn't end there for the Bisons though. Mowbray who scored 31, Welykholowa who scored 22 to go with Assad, 97 born Merkley can all chip in. The defense is led by first round talent Brycen Martin and Oliver Lester. In goal, Adin Hill has proven he can win games when needed to. For the Rebels White, Ty Mappin is perhaps the leagues MVP and how he go's is likely how the Rebels will go. Mappin had 5 goals and 8 points in the 3 head to head regular season meetings. Players such as Mik Doell, Chase Thudium and Carter Sawicki have proven they can chip in at times too. Colton Bobyk and Logan Hermus are able to supply offence from the backend and in goal the reigns will be likely handed to Jayden Sittler who has had a very strong playoff thus far.

British Columbia
The top ranked Kamloops Jardine Blazers have defeated the Kelowna Jr. Rockets in game 1 of a best of 3 OMAHA final 2-0. Game 2 go's Friday in Kelowna and game 3 if needed, go's on Sunday.

In the PCAHA, 3 of the 4 teams have been decided for the final four which takes place in Burnaby this coming weekend with a four team round-robin.

BWC defeated NSWC in two straight out-scoring them 7-2

Abbotsford defeated Surrey in two straight out-scoring them 10-2

Seafair won their series 1-0-2 against Langley out-scoring them 9-4

The final team will be either Cloverdale or Hollyburn. That series is at 1-1-1 with Hollyburn having out-scored Cloverdale so far 10-9. The fourth and final game go's tonight in Cloverdale.

Articles of note:
The St. Albert Sabes were swept in three straight by SSAC. The St. Albert Gazette takes a closer look at why here: