CALGARY - After shutting out Team Manitoba 3-0 for the second straight game, Team Alberta successfully defended its gold medal at the 2015 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup on Sunday afternoon.
It didn’t take long for Team Alberta to strike, with goals from Sean Comrie and Ryley Appelt just over a minute apart to take a 2-0 lead partway through the first.
Both teams were held off the score sheet through the second period, and most of the third, until Eric Florchuk scored with Manitoba’s net empty in favour of an extra skater.
Florchuk finished the tournament with three goals, tied for the team lead with Chase Wouters.
In his second start of the tournament, goalie Carl Stankowski stood tall for team Alberta, stopping all 27 shots he faced, and earning Player of the Game honours for his troubles.
Dawson Barteaux earned the nod as the Player of the Game for silver medal-winning Team Manitoba.
"As a staff, we are extremely proud of this particular group," said Head Coach Bobby Fox. "They played the game the right way. There was a ton of heart-power in that locker room, and we expect these players to make a significant impact with their respective club teams this year and moving forward in the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence."
Alberta and Manitoba previously clashed Friday night, also a 3-0 win for Team Alberta that saw Team Manitoba register just eight shots on goal.
Undefeated in round-robin play, Alberta advanced directly to Sunday’s gold medal game, while Manitoba earned its spot after beating second place BC on Saturday.
It’s the fourth gold medal for Alberta in the tournament’s five-year history, and its second in a row, the previous coming in 2013.
Earlier on Sunday, Team BC defeated Team Saskatchewan 7-2 in the tournament’s bronze medal game.
2015 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup All-Star Team
G – Matthew Thiessen (Team Manitoba) – Altona, MB – Tri-City Americans
D – Ty Smith (Team Alberta) – Lloydminster, AB – Spokane Chiefs
D – Jett Woo (Team Manitoba) – Winnipeg, MB – Moose Jaw Warriors
F – Carson Focht (Team Saskatchewan) – Regina, SK – Tri-City Americans
F – Eric Florchuk (Team Alberta) – Ft. Saskatchewan, AB – Victoria Royals
F – Eli Zummack (Team BC) – Kelowna, BC – Red Deer Rebels
October 30, 2015
CALGARY - Team Alberta heavily out-shot Team Manitoba on the way to a 3-0 win Friday night, securing a spot in Sunday’s gold medal game at the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup.
Eric Florchuk opened the scoring with his second of the tournment, as Alberta outshot Manitoba 16-2 in the first.
Chase Wouters netted his third goal in as many games late in the second, as Alberta yet again had the advantage on the shot clock, 11-3.
Tristan Nielsen put the game away midway through the third with his second goal of the Challenge Cup, with Alberta outshooting Manitoba 9-3 in the frame.
In his second straight start, Jacob Bennett needed just eight saves to earn the shutout, while a busy Matthew Thiessen stopped 33 of 36 in a losing cause for Manitoba.
Eric Florchuk earned the Player of the Game honours for Team Alberta, and Benjamin Coppinger for Team Manitoba.
Team Alberta finishes the round-robin portion of the tournament a perfect 3-0, and will advance directly to the gold medal final, which goes Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary.
Alberta’s opponent will be determined Saturday afternoon, as Manitoba (1-2) and Team BC (2-1) battle at 1 p.m. at the Markin MacPhail.
The loser of that match-up goes on to the bronze medal game against Team Saskatchewan (0-3) at 9:30 a.m.
October 29, 2015
CALGARY - After jumping out to a three goal lead, Team Alberta held on for the 3-2 win over Team Saskatchewan Thursday afternoon at the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup in Calgary.
Alberta went up 1-0 early in the game thanks to Erik Florchuk’s first goal of the tournament, and took a 2-0 lead just minutes into the second frame after Chase Wouters scored short-handed, his second goal in as many games.
Tristan Nielson scored again for Alberta just over two minutes later, which would be the eventual game winner.
Saskatchewan’s Carson Focht scored a pair in the middle of the period to make it a one-goal game, but Alberta was able to halt the comeback and hold on for the victory.
Jacob Bennett got the call in goal for Alberta, stopping 18 of 20 shots for the win, while his counterpart Jake Davidson made 22 saves on 25 shots for Saskatchewan.
Forward Josh Tarzwell earned Player of the Game honours for Team Alberta, while Focht got the nod for Saskatchewan.
"Sask (Saskatchewan) is a very well coached team and the players have obviously bought into a hard working, lunch-bucket identity," Head Coach Bobby Fox said after the game. "It makes them a tough team to play against and a good test for us. We faced some adversity today and it will make us better moving forward. We held on and found a way to win."
Team Alberta now sits 2-0 in the tournament, and plays its final round-robin game against Team Manitoba (1-1) Friday at 7 p.m., and can advance straight to Sunday’s gold medal final with a win.
Manitoba is coming off a 4-2 loss to BC Thursday night, after opening its tournament with a win over Saskatchewan.
Meanwhile, Saskatchewan (0-2) looks for its first win of the tourament as they take on Team BC (1-1) Friday at 3 p.m.
October 28, 2015
CALGARY - Despite trailing in the early goings of the game, Team Alberta kicked off the 2015 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup with a 6-3 win over BC Wednesday night.
In a rematch of the 2013 Gold Medal game, which Team Alberta won, BC jumped out to an early lead on goals by Liam Kindree and Luka Burzan, before Josh Tarzwell put Alberta on the board late in the first period.
BC would regain a two-goal lead in the second period thanks to Tyler Popowich, but goals from Josh Prokop and Nicholas Bowman just 24 seconds apart would tie the game at 3-3 after two.
Team Alberta carried the momentum into the third, taking its first lead of the game on Chase Wouters’ marker, and added a pair of insurance goals as Bowman and Prokop each landed their second goals of the game.
Goalie Carl Stankowski was able to brush off a shaky start and earn the win for Alberta, stopping 19 of the 22 shots he faced.
Jordan Naylor took the loss for BC, allowing five goals on 33 shots before being pulled and replaced by Donovan Buskey, who allowed one goal on three shots in relief.
With two assists, Spencer Moe was named the Player of the Game for Team Alberta, while Captain Ethan Cap took the honour for BC.
"It’s something we discussed as a team in pre-planning, with the ins and outs of a short-term competition," Coach Bobby Fox said of his team’s come-from-behind win. "You could be down two in the first 5 minutes, but there’s 55 minutes left in the game. The guys showed character, remained poised, and didn’t stop working."
Team Alberta now shifts its focus to Team Saskatchewan, who are coming off a narrow 4-3 loss to Team Manitoba Wednesday afternoon.
The two teams hit the ice at 3 p.m. at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary, followed by BC and Manitoba at 7 p.m.