West Kelowna Warriors Crowned U18 Champions at Langley Showcase
The Junior Showcase Hockey League wrapped up its inaugural 2018 season for the U18s over the weekend in Langley as both the Under-16 and Under-18 Divisions competed at the Langley Sportsplex.
The U-16 Langley Rivermen finished the season at the top of the division standings, getting ahead of the U-16 Victoria Grizzlies and U-16 Surrey Eagles by just one point. The Riv’ started their weekend off with a 2-2 tie against the Grizzlies thanks to 3rd period goals from Walker Gelbard and Andrew Kim before earning a 5-2 victory over the U-16 West Kelowna Warriors. The hosts suffered their only loss of the weekend in a tight affair to the Eagles by a 4-3 score with Surrey scoring three unanswered goals to finish off the comeback but bounced back, in a big way, with an 11-2 win in the final game of the Showcase weekend to claim top spot in the U-16 Division. Caden Bankier amassed four goals in the victory over the U-16 Cowichan Valley Capitals and notched an impressive seven tallies over the course of the four-game Showcase.
The U-16 Grizzlies saw similar results to the Rivermen and opened the weekend with a 2-2 against Langley on Friday afternoon before getting into the win column with a 3-0 shutout victory over the Capitals. Tijs Vreys scored twice in the game while Fraser Wyatt recorded the shutout in between the pipes. The Grizz continued their strong weekend with an 8-4 win over the Warriors with a pair of goals coming from Jareden Kurvers before Victoria fell for the first time over their weekend in the Lower Mainland by a 4-3 score to the Eagles to finish in a tie for 2nd in the Division.
The U-16 Eagles enjoyed an undefeated weekend of play in Langley with an opening 6-6 tie against West Kelowna being their only blemish in the Showcase. Trent Wilson scored twice in the game for the Eagles before Surrey charted three straight victories, starting with a 4-3 victory over Langley after overcoming a 3-1 deficit to come-from-behind for the victory. Surrey followed that up with a 6-3 win over the Capitals before finishing off their Showcase weekend with a 4-3 triumph over the Grizzlies, thanks in large part to a three-goal 2nd period.
The U-16 Warriors earned three points over the course of their weekend in Langley, kicking things off with a 6-6 tie against Surrey with Rylan Yates pacing the team’s offence with a hat-trick in the tie. West Kelowna was on the wrong side of a 5-2 score against Langley before picking up their first win of the Showcase with a 9-3 victory over the Capitals with Riley Sharun collecting a two-goal, four-point game. The Warriors wrapped up their weekend in Langley with an 8-4 loss to the Grizzlies.
The U-16 Capitals suffered a tough weekend of play as they were not able to register a victory, starting in their first game on Saturday with a 3-0 loss to Victoria. The Capitals then fell by a 9-3 score to the Warriors before dropping a 6-3 score to the Eagles despite a goal and an assist coming from Brandon Melsness. Cowichan closed out their Showcase with an 11-2 loss to the Rivermen before heading back to the Island.
Round robin play in the final weekend of the Under-18 Division Showcase took place on Friday and Saturday before Sunday crowned an inaugural Champion. The U-18 Victoria Grizzlies went through Showcase play three victories, the first coming against the U-18 Langley Rivermen by a 6-2 score before earning a 5-2 win over the U-18 West Kelowna Warriors thanks to a three-point game from Kahlit Fontana. The Grizzlies picked up a 5-2 win over the Eagles before heading to Sunday’s Championship game against West Kelowna.
West Kelowna also had a strong three games heading into Sunday’s Final but opened up the Showcase with a 4-2 win over the Eagles on a pair of goals from Riley Dobranski. The lone loss of the weekend for the Warriors was a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Grizzlies before getting back in the win column with a 5-2 triumph over the Rivermen on big offensive performances from Dobranski (3 goals and an assist), Alex Ochitwa (A goal and two assists) and Jacob Klassen-Phillips (A goal and two assists) setting up a clash with the Grizzlies in the Final.
The host Rivermen collected a victory in three games leading up to their 3rd place showdown on Sunday and opened their weekend with a 6-2 loss to the Grizzlies before collecting a 4-0 shutout win over the Eagles. Kyle Sackmann collected a goal and an assist with Eric Clark earning the shutout. Langley finished off their Showcase play with a 5-2 loss to West Kelowna before heading into Sunday’s 3rd place game against the Eagles.
The U-18 Surrey Eagles were held out of the win column through their weekend in Langley, starting off with a 4-2 loss to the Warriors with Chris Fortems and Reegan House scoring the goals before dropping a 4-0 decision to the host Rivermen. Fortems and Brice Kemp provided the offence for Surrey once more in their final Showcase game against Victoria which would end up as a 5-2 defeat leading into Sunday’s rematch against the Rivermen.
In the 3rd place game, Langley got the quick edge with two 1st period goals coming from Jeffery Creasy and Nicholas Brain before Nicholas Prokopich gave the Rivermen a 3-0 lead early into the 2nd period. Reegan House scored his second goal of the weekend before Fortems got the Eagles within a goal heading into the 3rd period. Ben Kotylak scored a big goal just over 6 minutes into the period to retake a two-goal advantage for Langley which lead to Dalton Edwards capping off a 5-2 victory for the Rivermen with a goal and securing 3rd place for Langley in the U-18 Division.
The inaugural JSHL Championship game saw a tight affair between the Warriors and Grizzlies with Alex Ochitwa making his presence felt early with a pair of 1st period goals to put the Warriors ahead by a 2-0 score afer 20 minutes. Connor Eddy got Victoria within one before Jacob Klassen-Phillips restored the two-goal lead for West Kelowna heading into the 3rd period. Klassen-Phillips added his second goal of the game just over a minute into the final frame to push the Warriors lead to 4-1. Victoria would add a goal a minute later but couldn’t beat West Kelowna goaltender Austin Madge anymore and the Warriors were crowned 2018 JSHL Champions.