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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

KIBIHT Tournament set to get underway

The Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament is set to get underway tomorrow morning.  This is the 44th year the tournament has taken place.  The tournament is divided in to a Tier 1 and Tier 2 division with 12 teams in each group.  Here below is a bit of a preview as to what to watch heading in to the tournament.

Division 1
Gold Division
Woolfenden is a top prospect from Washington St.
The Seattle team will look to defenseman Daniel Woolfenden and fowards Jordan Greenhall and Luke Van Schaak to lead the squad.  Woolfenden is a former member of the Vancouver Selects Blue squad, so those of you who follow spring/summer hockey would be very familiar with him.  He also turned heads at the WHL USA Prospects camp in 2011.  Luke Van Schaak is coming over from the Wenatchee Jr. Wild for this tournament.  Van Schaak could turn heads as he was the leading scorer for the Jr. Wild with 28-17-45 in 35 games

Top two-way forward for the draft.

NSWC was one of the better teams in western Canada all season long, being ranked in the top 4 for the whole season.  They are undoubtably led by their captain and perhaps the best two way forward in the tournament in Jansen Harkins.  We fully expect Jansen to be a top 6 selection in the bantam draft on May 3.  The defense has been stingy all season long, thanks in large part to the goaltending duo of Taz Burman and Bo Didur.  NSWC also possess a very stead defence led by Stapley, Brebner and O'Shaunnessy.

Kawaguchi leads the POE offensive charge.

It has been a bit of an up and down season for POE as they failed to win any of the major tournaments.  They hope this final tournament is the one they can finally capture.  They are led by a defense core who is likely to feature most likely 4 players taken in the first couple rounds of the draft.  Joe Gatenby, Ethan Bear, Tanner Browne and Chaz Reddekopp should give POE as good a chance as anyone. Up front, ultra talented Jordan Kawaguchi will look to turn heads after a bit of injury trouble as of late.

Sask Valley
Draude led all Sask Bantam goal getters with 55.

Sask Valley was one of the top teams in Saskatchewan along with the North East Wolfpack who are at westerns and the Balgonie Prairie Storm who were at the St. Albert Tournament.  There really isn't much separating the three teams.  The Vipers are led by the SBAAHL scoring leader - Terrell Draude.  The 6'2 185lb Draude fired hom 55 goals and had an 11 point game this year as well with 8 of them goals.  The defense is led by Evan Fiala who has become one of the fastest risers in the draft during the second half of the season.  Fiala had over a point per game this year and is a big, steady defender.

Diamond in the rough Mills.

The Westside Warrior fly a bit under the radar in this tournament but led the OMAHA Tier 2 with a 12-2-0 record and averaged about 6.5 gpg.  A player many scouts will have a close eye on is big 6'3 190lb defender Jesse Mills.  Mills battled some injuries this year so was a bit of a miss with scouts but his potential is right up there with the best defenders in western Canada.  Up front, 52 goal man Sam Dubbeldam and team team scoring leader Nicholas Gnazdowsky (39-47-86) in 49 games.  Defenseman Brody Jennings adds some grit and stability on the back-end and will be one to watch as well.

Ternes will need to steal a couple games.

It was a bit of an an off year for Airdrie going 13-13-7, however tthey went on quite a run in the playoffs by defeating Lethbridge and division leading Medicine Hat before falling to the Bisons in the south final.  Up front, the Xtreme don't really have an elite talent but Chad Harrison and Ryan Barrow are capable of stepping up to put up decent numbers.  Defensively, captain Marshall Burr is one scouts would've been looking at but he is having surgery and will be out.  98 born defenseman Adamu Tanaka will be one to watch.  Ternes and Chapman are a decent duo between the pipes.

Blue Division
Had the GWG at last years KIBIHT

The Kamloops Jardine Blazers were in a bit of a rebuilding year after losing 2011 bantam draft first rounders Ryan Gropp and Joe Hicketts along with Chad Butcher and Carson Bolduc.  This season, the Blazers  still have some talent they can rely upon though to perhaps surprise at their home tournament.  Nicholas Chyzowski has really amped up his game and now will get consideration as a top 2 round selection.  Addison Bazien scored the winner at last year's KIBIHT tournament as a first year bantam.  The defense is led by top 2 round rated prospect Kevin Davis and he is supported by a very good defenseman in his own right in Alex Winters.  Joshua Shank provides some reliable goaltending and should be given a look on draft day.

Top sniper Morrison looks to cement himself as a 1st rounder

OHA will finally get their chance to show that they belonged in the Medicine Hat and St. Albert Tournaments.  Most of the year, they felt they were right there with prep school rivals POE who like OHA are part of the OMAHA league.  In league play, they scored just 14 less goals than POE while allowing just about 1 gpg more.  They are led by two possible WHL 1st rounders in defenseman Brady Reagan and forward Brad Morrison.  Reagan is a big 6'2 185lb defenseman who has a solid all-around game while Morrison is fast, skilled goal scorer who piled in 80 goals this season.  Both Morrison and Reagan will need to be at the top of their games for OHA to have any chance.  Look for Reagan to play well over half the game.

Grand Prairie
Dorum will need to carry the load

The Grand Prairie Golden Arrow Storm enter the tournament as an overwhelming underdog.  They were dead last in the AMBHL with a 4-26-3 record and scored just 77 goals and allowed a league leading 172 or over 5gpg.  Grand Prairie had just one player who scored more than 10 goals this year with Kolton Dorum scoring 19-9-28, he also led in points with those 28.  They also didn't have a defenseman scoring more than 1 goal this season.

The Mission Stars were part of a very stacked PCAHA Flight 1 this year which included perhaps western Canada's top 4 teams in NSWC, BWC, Cloverdale and Semiahmoo.  As a result, they finished with a 6-14-0 league record and really struggled to score for the majority of the season.  They do have some pretty good players that scouts will be watching though on an individual basis.  Included in that group will be fowards Jacob Kranabetter and Brice Sharp, defenseman Nolan Zweep who can move the puck well and goaltender Jeffrey Veitch can steal a game or two.

Notre Dame
Zimmer looks to bounce back

It was a bit of a struggle this year for what is notoriously a very strong program.  The Hounds played this season in the Saskatchewan AA Midget League and really struggled going 11-20-5, finishing 2nd last in a 15 team league.  They also failed to make any sort of impact at both the Medicine Hat and St. Albert tournaments.  The Hounds will be led by Rylee Zimmer who has had a bit of a disappointing year in scouts eyes as expectations at the start of the year had him pegged as a possible first rounder.  Angus Scott who came over from Salt Lake City, UT is a big power forward type who has good upside.  In goal, Matt Kustra is someone scouts will be watching just like Zimmer to see if he can amp it up a bit before draft day.  Kustra was considered perhaps the top goalie from Saskatchewan at the start of the season.

Burnaby Minor
captain Vela looks to open eyes.

Another of the big time underdog teams in the tournament.  Burnaby struggled in the PCAHA Flight 1 this year going just 2-17-1, scoring 30 and allowing 104 in the 20 games.  The top player on the team might be goaltender Alexander Kong who many believe could've made the BWC squad.  Marcus Vela and Eric Malli are a couple other prospects scouts will have an eye on.

Top 10 Players to Watch (doesn't necessarily reflect rankings)
10.  Rylee Zimmer (Notre Dame) - Can he turn it around and have a big KIBIHT?
9.    Brad Morrison (OHA) - Speedy sniper will look to cement himself as a first rounder.
8.    Jordan Kawaguchi (POE) - Injury riddled 2nd half of the season, will need to score.
7.    Tanner Browne (POE) - Getting lost in the POE wealth of  talented blue-liners?
6.    Terrell Draude (Sask Valley) - Big forward will look to put skating issues aside with huge production.
5.    Joe Gatenby (POE) - The smoothest skater in the draft provides good offence.
4.    Brady Reagan (OHA) - Minute cruncher shows huge potential! (no pun intended).
3.    Kevin Davis (Kamloops)- Offensive defenseman will look to establish himself as a definite top 30 pick.
2.    Jansen Harkins (NSWC) - Top two-way forward available for the draft.
1.    Jesse Mills (Westside) - Big defenseman who is a big project but oozes potential.


Anonymous said...

Seattle will do very well at this tournament,Woolfenden is getting better and better, BMH the goalie was at BWC but left a few years ago, did not like being back up, I could be wrong. Blazers -Chyzowski yes he has stepped up,He will do well in the U16's. This tournament will be Seattle and NWSC, maybe POE could be in the dance if they stay out of the box.

Anonymous said...

As always KIBIHT is weak teamwise with only 2 good teams--POE and NSWC, but lots of good players. Interesting to see who moves up or down is the scouts' eyes. I thinks as far as Gatenby goes his ability to read the play is what sets him apart-he is a choppy skater and it is certaintly not one of his strengths.

Anonymous said...

Ethan Williams came down for KIBIHT. He should be a big help for POE.

Anonymous said...

Seattle will get bombed.POE and NSWC.They are only elite teams.POE has really improved.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see OHA at this event. Many of their players have improvd a ton. Morrison is the top scorer in all of BC and Reagan is one of the top D in the West. Their 98s are very good with Malenstyn looking like a high pick for next year. Both goalies Barry and Schovanek were terrific at U16s and will be playing BC Cup. OHA should advance to semis vs NSWC or POE. Could be an excellent final four.

Anonymous said...

Semifinalists should be NSWC, POE, OHA, host Kamloops. It would be cool if some other team could surprise.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the good preview. Interesting how some teams have imported extra talent now that the playoffs are over.
A group of scouts I talked to at BC U-16 regionals will be using KIBIHT to look at 2nd tier players for their later draft picks (WHL) or camp invites (BCHL) - those guys on the list are all set in their books. Good luck to all teams & players - finish strong!

Anonymous said...

POE have always done extremely well against weak teams. It is against the strong teams that they seem to fall apart. Their stellar Ds weren't much different against the top teams.

KIBIHT is not what used be and it won't really be much of a measurement.

Anonymous said...

Interesting set of players to watch for Seattle. Van Schaak shoots to the top of the list but was a non factor at regionals. As for Woolfenden he is still overrated as I have watched him play a lot this year. A lot of turnovers and bad decisions with the puck. Greenhall should do well but the team definitely has other scoring threats in the lineup. Disappointed a player comes to the team and is immediately noted as a player the team will look to.