Juan de Fuca hockey teams gain good experience in Richmond

Annual international tournament provides varied opponents

A pair of Juan de Fuca minor hockey teams were busier than the Team Canada juniors in the post-Christmas tournament schedule.

Playing at the annual Richmond International tournament, the midget T1 Grizzlies started with a double overtime thriller on Dec. 27 and wound up finishing with a .500 record overall.

The Grizzlies wound their schedule up with a 5-1 loss Dec. 30 to the North Shore Winter Club’s Elite T1 team. The Grizzlies took a 1-0 lead into the dressing room for the first intermission, following Kieran Cardinal’s power-play goal from Brendan Martin and Bryson Hines.

The highly touted North Shore squad rallied in the second period, however, scoring four unanswered goals. They added a fifth early in the third and spent much of the middle part of the period shorthanded, but the Grizzlies were unable to solve North Shore goalie Donovan Buskey.

Juan de Fuca opened with a 2-2 tie against the Alaska Oilers 18AA that included two full 20-minute overtime periods. Keegan Durrance, in the first, and Joe LeAkey in the second scored for the Grizzlies.

Next up was the Vancouver Thunderbirds, who allowed only a third-period marker from the Grizzlies’ LeAkey in handing Juan de Fuca a 5-1 loss.

On the Monday, first-period goals by LeAkey and Martin held up in a 2-1 win over Surrey. And on Tuesday, Martin tallied the hat trick in a 5-1 victory over Cloverdale A1. Eric Le and LeAkey added singles for the Grizzlies, who gave up the first goal 18 seconds in but built period leads of 2-1 and 3-1.

Bantam Grizzlies save best for last

The Bantam T2 Grizzlies also competed at the five-day tournament and finished 1-3 in the Tier 1 division.

They scored a victory in their final game, a 5-4 overtime decision Wednesday against the Surrey A1 team. Jackson Estey notched the winner 14:14 into the extra frame, converting a pass from Zackery Whittaker. It was Estey’s second goal of the game.

Craig Phipps, Bryce Hobbs and Connor McClelland also scored for the Grizzlies, who trailed 2-1 after one and were tied 3-3 after 40 minutes. McClelland’s goal gave Juan de Fuca a 4-3 lead 5:40 into the third period, but Surrey tied it up with 4:51 to go.

Other games saw Juan de Fuca lose 6-2 to Vancouver Minor A1, 4-2 to Seafair A2 and 6-0 to Delta Wild Varsity Bantams.