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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Okanagan Bantam Showcase Day 1

To keep early play competitive the organizers did a good job of placing teams in ranked divisions. For example, the strong AAA teams like OH Red, Sherwood Park and Camrose are all in the same division while several AA teams like OHA Black, Penticton, JDF and Anchorage are in another. The seeding crossovers should take care of any imbalances in the divisions.

Here some recaps from the OHA, Sherwood Park, Camrose, Nanaimo Division play along with a very good game that took place between Lethbridge and Kamloops from their division which includes Vernon and Grand Prairie.

Chilliwack 5 - Juan De Fuca 3

OHA AA 4 - Penticton 5

Camrose 3 -  OHA AAA 3
OHA controlled the play for much of this game but were not able to finish effectively. Camrose remained patient and had a very effective counter attack. The OHA defence turned over too many pucks on the offensive blue line and allowed multiple odd man rushes as a result. Both goalies Brendan Barry for OHA and Spencer Burton for Camrose played strong games. Curtis Miske used his big shot several times effectively and was hard to contain on the rush and Brady Reagan for OHA had a strong game on defence. OHA missed several open net chances to put this game away early in the third when they were up 2-1 but Camrose hung on and bounced back to take the lead 3-2 late in the third. A late goal by OHA salvaged the tie.

Sherwood Park 6 - Nanaimo 2
Sherwood Park dominated the puck possession and outshot a pesky Nanaimo team in this one but Nanaimo hung around until the late second period due to some strong goaltending. Eventually Sherwood Park's balanced attack and patience won out as they began to get pucks through to the net. Sherwood has a very structured offence that plays in straight lines and likes to get pucks deep and work hard on the boards for possession. They play and dump and chase game very effectively. They are a very balanced team from Forwards to Defence to Goalies. The 98 Sam Steel is a very good player and has the ability to beat defenders on on one on a consistent basis. The 98 Defenceman Paradis is also already a top Dman. 
Grand Prairie 4 - Vernon 2
Kamloops 4 - Lethbridge 2
This was a fast paced and entertaining game. Lethbridge got themselves into trouble when they gave up two shorthanded goals early. Chyzowski for Kamloops was a threat all night and was the best player on the ice in this game with his work ethic and shot. Davis on D for Kamloops had several strong rushes. Lethrbridge played a strong team game but Kamloops top players were the major difference in this one.

Juan De Fuca 7 - Anchorage 2

Chilliwack 9 - OHA AA 1

Sherwood 3 - OHA AAA 2
Sherwood Park scored on their first two shots on OHA tender Ethan Shovanek and he was pulled four minutes into the first period and replaced by Brendan Barry. Barry was a rock in relief all game and allowed OHA to battle back and eventually tie the game 2-2 halfway. The teams traded chances throughout the second half of the game but Sherwood Park had several significant chances to score that were turned away by Barry who had a shutout going in his relief effort going until late in the third. Sherwood Park scored late in the game when a slapshot off the end boards caromed straight to an uncovered forward who tapped it into an empty net beside the post for the deciding goal. OHA's defence allowed several odd man rushes and made many coverage gaps in their own zone and will need to tighten up their game if OHA is to have any chance of winning their own tournament. Sherwood Park's D played a strong game as the 98 Paradis was again impressive. The two Captains Reagan, Brady Reagan for OHA and Cameron Reagan for Sherwood Park also had strong performances along with the 98 Forward Sam Steel who was a threat all game. OHA's star offensive player Morrison was not effective in this game and was neutralized consistently by Sherwood Park's defence corps. 

Camrose 3 - Nanaimo 3
Camrose controlled the play in this game but were unable to get the key goals to distance themselves and found themselves tied 2-2 late in the third. The Camrose D began to turn over the puck on the offensive blue line allowing several late odd man rushes from Nanaimo. Eventually Nanaimo scored a go ahead goal on Child in net for Camrose on one of these rushes late in the third period. Camrose was able to battle back and even the score with two minutes remaining avoiding the upset An entertaining game overall as the underdog Nanaimo worked hard for this tie.

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