Juan de Fuca’s pee wee ‘A’ Whalers kicked their game into high gear at the right time Sunday at the Captain Cook lacrosse tournament in Colwood.
Coming off a gold medal win at a Kamloops tournament two weekends previous, the Whalers had a slow start at home, going 1-2 in round robin play and squeaking into medal contention.
But the Whalers rebounded to beat arch-rival Ridge Meadows 4-3 in the semifinal Saturday then hammered Coquitlam 10-4 in the gold medal game Sunday at Juan de Fuca Arena.
“We had a big talk and the kids pulled their socks up. We just worked hard and really got ’er done,” said Whalers’ coach Jim McNeill. “We weren’t really playing as a team the first three games; it was a bit of a rough start.”
Juan de Fuca handed Ridge Meadows its first loss of the season, a benchmark in the leadup to provincials, to be hosted by that team in July.
The final saw the Whalers jump out to 4-0 lead after the first period and never look back. They added a couple more goals in the middle frame and didn’t give the mainland squad many openings.
The Whalers lost 5-4 to Nanaimo, beat Kamloops 2-1 in a rare goaltenders’ duel, and lost 5-2 to Ridge Meadows in round robin play. The host team tied Kamloops for fourth spot but made the semifinal based on the head-to-head win.
Whalers capture ‘B’ gold over Vic-Esquimalt
Two late goals gave the Juan de Fuca B2 pee wees a 6-4 victory over the Victoria-Esquimalt Eagles in the Cook tournament’s B final Sunday at Juan de Fuca Arena.
Reid Fryer notched the eventual winner with five minutes left, breaking a 4-4 tie after the Eagles erased a 4-2 deficit in the second period. With the Whalers down a man and the Eagles pressing for the equalizer, Juan de Fuca’s Luc Gagnon was sprung loose and raced in alone to beat Eagles goalie Ty Reeve for the 6-4 goal.
“We’ve had some really close games with them this season. That was just guttin’ it out at the end of the tournament,” said Whalers coach Paul Richards, whose team lost 5-4 to the Eagles in the tourney opener Friday. “That was like our 11th game in eight days. It’s a lot of lacrosse and it’s just leaving it out on the floor.”
Whalers B2 played JdF B1 for gold the previous weekend in Delta, but lost 5-4.
The B1 Whalers, who finished second in their round robin pool – as did the B2 Whalers – dropped a 7-2 semifinal decision to Vic-Esquimalt, but came back to beat Oceanside 5-4 for bronze on Sunday.
In the C division, Juan de Fuca defeated Vic-Esquimalt 4-1 for bronze at The Q Centre. JdF lost three close round robin games and then the semifinal 3-1 to Campbell River, which beat Cowichan 5-2 for gold.