Determined team play, combined with some outstanding individual efforts, led five Juan de Fuca Whalers minor lacrosse teams to a rather unprecedented five-medal Victoria Day weekend on the Lower Mainland.
The bantam ‘A’ Whalers, facing tough competition from the best teams in the province at the New Westminster Hyack tournament, shrugged off a first-game loss to Coquitlam to win five straight games. The last was a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over that same Coquitlam team in an intense gold medal game Sunday.
The teams entered the third period deadlocked at 4-4 and battled hard for an opportunity to score the tiebreaker. With about three minutes to go, JdF’s Colby Condon fed Josh Eden with a perfect pass, and the latter ripped a shot cleanly past the Coquitlam goalie for the eventual winner.
The Whalers were forced to kill off a penalty for the final 1:30, but goalie Adam Bland came up big and finished with 41 saves.
Coquitlam led 2-0 early in the first period and 3-1 late in the second before the Whalers reeled off three straight goals – two from Casey Wilson and one from Isaac Swan – to take their first lead. The mainlanders got one back before the buzzer went, setting up the thrilling final period. Jacob Obee had the other JdF goal.
Juan de Fuca went 2-1 in round robin play, losing 3-1 to Coquitlam and beating Delta 5-3 and Port Coquitlam 8-1. They defeated Saanich 7-3 in a crossover playoff match then downed New West 4-1 in the semifinals.
Juan de Fuca’s most inspirational player awards went to Casey Wilson, Jacob Obee, Dawson Parker and Brodie Stugnell.
Bantam B teams powerhouses
Also at the Hyack tournament, Juan de Fuca’s two bantam B teams won their way into the final, where the B1 team, guided by a youthful coaching staff, won a 6-4 decision for gold over Juan de Fuca B2.
Showing Juan de Fuca dominance at the event, both teams won every game leading up to the final. The B1 team shut out Coquitlam 9-0 in their semifinal, while B2 needed an overtime goal from Luke Yesaki to beat Port Coquitlam 7-6 to reach the gold medal game.
In round robin play, JdF B2 beat Coquitlam (4-2), Ridge Meadows (5-1), Comox Valley (6-2) and Penticton (7-0). B2’s game Most Inspirational Players were Dominic Bellagente, Luke Yesaki, Connor McLelland and Brodie Wade.
JdF B1, led by stellar play from goalie Jake Mellish, who let in just eight goals in six games, beat New Westminster (6-0), Port Coquitlam (9-1), Shuswap (6-3) and Cowichan 10-0.
Pee wee squads also dominate
Juan de Fuca’s pee wee B1 team had a couple of close shaves to wind up the Wayne Patrick Tournament in Delta.
Justin Eden’s third-period goal stood up as the winner for the Whalers, who took a 5-2 lead over JdF Team B2 in the third period of Monday’s championship game, and survived a late charge to win gold by a 5-4 score.
Team B1 had edged Langley 2-1 in a hard-fought semifinal earlier that day to reach the all-Juan de Fuca showdown. Meanwhile, B2 got past Nanaimo in the other semifinal.
B1 opened with a 4-1 win over Kamloops, then downed Chilliwack 10-5 and Semiahmoo 12-1 to reach the crossover semifinal. Game MIPs for B1 were Adam Spaven, Seth Calder, Aiden Campiou, Gavin Darling-Burgess and Ayden McDonald.
Other B2 wins came over Langley, Semiahmoo and Chilliwack. Game MIP’s for B2 were Alex Klassen, Kieran Sawyer, Dryden De Melo, Reid Fryer and Riley Julien.