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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

49th Annual Burnaby "Christmas" Tournament - A Success!

The Burnaby Minor Eagles made a statement that they'll be back for the 50th anniversary of the Bantam AAA Christmas hockey tournament.
The Eagles made it to the quarter-finals of the 49th annual tourney for the first time in more than a decade, when Burnaby lost to eventual champion Surrey in the 1999 semifinal.
Although Burnaby's appearance in the tournament final eight was marred 9-0 by eventual and first-time bantam champion Cloverdale on Friday, the significance of the feat was not.
"Together we're just happy to keep ourselves growing - taking baby steps and keeping moving up the ladder," said Burnaby captain Marcus Vela.
The Eagles advanced into the quarters with a third-period rally in a 5-3 victory over South Delta.
Mario Juzipovic led the rally with a goal and two assists. Christian Bettiol and Ken Takahashi also had third-period counters.
Burnaby finished third in the Mario Division, opening the tourney with a 3-2 victory over Langley on Ian Prevost's last-second tally.
The Eagles lost to Mission 5-2 and Victoria Racquet Club 4-0 in divisional play.
"I think we have to work hard every chance we get at practice," added Vela. "We have to keep pushing ourselves - to keep getting where we want to be."
Cloverdale is close to where it wants to be at this point in the season.
The Colts won their third straight bantam tournament, handing the North Shore Winter Hawks a 6-3 defeat in the gold-medal final.
Christopher Seto, who shared a gold medal with the Burnaby Winter Club at last year's Burnaby tournament, was named the most outstanding forward for Cloverdale.
"It's never the same," said Seto after the game. "Our team is getting better on offence and defence, and our hope is we're going to win the St. Albert tournament, then win the provincials and then get to the Westerns."
The Surrey club just might do that with the steps they have made against the NSWC alone last month.
In December, Cloverdale was bombed 10-1 by North Shore. The team then fell 5-3 in a more recent matchup before finally doubling the winter club in the Burnaby tournament final.
"We are happy with our progress so far," said Cloverdale assistant coach Gerry MacGillivray, who was behind the bench in Surrey's win in '99. "But we still have work to do."
Cloverdale tied Semiahmoo 4-4 on opening day at the Burnaby tourney but finished in second place to the south Surrey club on a placement tiebreaker.
Cloverdale defeated Seafair of Richmond 7-3, while Semiahmoo dropped a narrow 2-1 decision to the winter club in the semifinals. Semiahmoo went on to win the third-place medal following a 5-3 win over Seafair.
Joining Seto with MVP awards were outstanding goalie Bo Didur and most outstanding defenceman Mitchell Stapley both from the North Shore Winter Club.
Also making the tournament first all-star team were Cloverdale defenceman Parker Wotherspoon, and forwards Jansen Harkins of NSWC and Glenn Gawdin from Seafair.

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