Last weekend’s B.C. Lacrosse Association pee wee A1 gold medal game ended the argument over which team was better, the Juan de Fuca Whalers or Coquitlam.
Going into the provincial final in Richmond, the mainland team had beat the Whalers three times this season – they were Juan de Fuca’s only losses – including a 6-5 win in the B.C.s round robin.
Led by the stellar goaltending of tournament most valuable player Adam Bland, who turned aside 42 of 44 shots, the Whalers put it all together and humbled Coquitlam 7-2 to cap their season.
“A lot of people said we’re an OK team with a great goalie. I told them we’re a great team with an even better goalie,” said Whalers head coach Teddy Jenner. He noted that Bland tends to get down on himself after goals, but his performance in the final showed great focus for a young player.
“He was a rock when we needed him to be. The moment he got his gold medal and received his MVP trophy were the best tears I’ve ever seen on a kid.”
Knowing their opponent had beat them in two tournament finals this season and narrowly defeated them the day before, Jenner gave his charges some words of wisdom before the final.
“I told them all we’ve got to do is clean up our little mistakes and we know we can beat them. We couldn’t asked for a better end to the season.”
The Whalers won four straight to start the provincials before running into the stubborn Coquitlam squad. Juan de Fuca rebounded to beat Delta 7-6 in the semifinals.
Team captain Jacob Obee was named to the all-star team while first-year pee wee Brett Bridges won the Fair Play sportsmanship award for the Whalers. Jenner won the Fair Play award for coaches in pee wee A.
‘B’ Whalers end 2014 season undefeated
The Island regular season and playoff champion Whalers pee wee ‘B’ team began what would be a double gold day for Juan de Fuca by beating Surrey 6-4 in their final in Richmond.
With the teams deadlocked 3-3 halfway through the third period, the Whalers scored three unanswered goals to roll to victory and put the crowning touch on a virtually perfect season in which they posted a 31-0-1 record.
Having not played any tournaments on the mainland this season, the Whalers went in with little advance knowledge of their competition, said head coach Derek Arthur.
“But these guys are tough in their league for a reason,” he said. “We told them they’ve got to come out and play hard and the boys really showed up.”
The Whalers’ Trey Anderson won tournament MVP and was his team’s leading scorer in the provincials. Teammate Caleb Riach allowed just 13 goals in five games and was named to the all-star team.
Arthur said the players set a goal at the beginning the year to medal at the provincials and more than accomplished their goal.
“We reminded them all year, if you set a goal you have to work for it.”
Juan de Fuca won each of their three round robin games by at least five goals, then downed Abbotsford 8-3 in the semifinals. They received goals from six different players in the final.