Vancouver Jr. Canucks (Gold Medal)
The Vancouver Jr. Canucks captured the Gold Medal defeating the Prairie Lightning 7-2 in the final. The Jr. Canucks finished a perfect 6-0-0 and outscored their opponents 43-9 in the process. The Jr. Canucks were a big, strong team led by power forwards Shane Wright of Ontario, Camron Van Sickle of Alaska and Tyson Zimmer of Manitoba. They played a heavy game, out-shooting most opponents by a 2-1 margin. They had a very dangerous power-play, excellent goaltending and run a very short bench. Lucas Di Chiara of New England, Lane Hutson of Chicago and Tristan Luneau of Quebec were good skating and puck moving defenseman.
Top players from this weekend for the Vancouver Jr. Canucks were primarily non-western Canada kids as outlined above but here are some of the WHL eligible players who performed well.
- Tyson Zimmer – Always an offensive threat. One of the best in offensive zone. Can take bad penalties at bad times. Needs work defensively like most high end offensive players entering bantam hockey. Zimmer has really moved up the rankings this spring season and continues to improve in all aspects of the game.
- Noah Gibbons – 110% player all the time. Always skates hard to net and in good positions. Doesn’t shy away from any contact. Had a great tournament. Another player who is really trending upwards this spring.
- Jaeger Murdock – Benefited from playing on line with Wright, but one of most consistent players. Uses size well and can definitely hold his own playing with other top players.
- Daimon Gardner – A good possession player and still in right spots. Could work on separation speed. Daimon was arguably the top player in the 2004 born age group in Western Canada and USA a couple years ago. While he may not be at that level any longer, he is still a very high end prospect. Gardner hails from Minnesota.
- D – Denton Mateychuk – Rarely a mistake from him and very good skater. Doesn’t lose puck battles. We will see if Denton can pair an offensive game with his already strong fundamentals defensively. Certainly has all the tools to do so moving forward.
- G – Merik Erickson – Was good when needed to be. Good size and athleticism.
- G – Ethan Buenaventura – had a very good tournament and made very timely saves. Ethan remains one of, if not the top goaltender for the 2004 age group heading into bantam hockey in the fall.
Prairie Lightning (Silver Medal)
The Prairie Lightning took home the silver after the running the table to the finals before bowing out to the powerful Jr. Canucks. They were led by a top line of 2005 born prospects from Saskatchewan with Riley Heidt, Kalan Lind and Brayden Yager. High end 03’s Jhett Larson and Nolan Flamand were also very solid. The Prairie Lightning were well structured from top to bottom. They got excellent goaltending by Ethan Chadwick despite his less than stellar GAA would suggest. The Spizawka twins played a heavy game. Great puck movement and specialty teams was the success of the team.
- Jhett Larson – An aggressive skater that doesn’t play as small as he is. Has a high compete level. Smaller physical presence, but certainly makes up for it with his work ethic and strength. Very creative player.
- Nolan Flamand – good skater with nose for the net. Great vision and hockey IQ, physcially strong, best playmaker in the Saskatchewan group. His 2 way game seems to get better in bigger games. Average speed is the only downfall.
- Ryan and Jason Spizawka twins – Can’t tell difference sometimes. Both played D. Both played body very well. Jason, we believe was better at rushing the puck of the two.
- G – Ethan Chadwick – Made some big saves. Strong positional goalie with great glove hand and really understands the position.
Rebels (Bronze Medal)
The Rebels were led by a strong, offensive core of Bowden Singleton, Jordan Gustafson, Hayden Smith, Ben Thornton and Brayden Schuurman. The team played well for the first time being all thrown together for this tournament. A strong defence core led by Graydon Siepman and Keaton Dowhaniuk as well as one of the top 2004 born goalies in Western Canada in Justen Maric. A few extra practices together prior to the tournament may have proved beneficial to the team who didn’t play up to their talent level at times.
- Jordan Gustafson– Elite talent, good size, good speed, good shot, big improvement in 200′ game, utilizes team mates very well.
- Bowden Singleton – Extremely fast and skilled with the puck. Has the unteachable knack of always being in the right place at the right times – puck seems to follow him around. Has a great shot.
- Keaton Dowhaniuk – Strange no points on board, was certainly their best defenseman in this particular tournament. Good skater, good shot, defends well, good first pass.
- Grayden Siepmann – Always made a great first pass. Excellent skater, best glider in the 04 age group, makes good reads and first passes, good point shot, needs to improve upon physical play (1 v 1 / 2 v 2), likes to wheel with the puck.
- Brayden Schuurman – Explosive speed, power forward, fastest player in 04 group, good physicality, can play in all situations (pp a& pk), big game player.
- Hayden Smith – Good skater, good hands, creative with the puck, needs to use teammates more (reduce turnovers).
- Ben Thornton – Big body, good vision and playing make abilities, does most of his work on the OZ wall, excellent outside shot, makes plays and teammates better.
Minnesota Blades (4th Place)
The Minnesota Blades were led by a highly offensive attack with players Isaac Howard, Cole Spicer, Tyler Grahme and Gavyn Thoreson. The Blades went undefeated in the round robin and lost in a shootout to the Prairie Lightning in a shootout and then in the bronze medal game in overtime to the Rebels. The Blades moved the puck very well and have a lethal attack.
Other Players who showed well from the the non medal games:
Team Manitoba Extreme
- Jesiah Bennett – Still an offensive threat. Tall and covers a lot of ground.
- Grant White – Has made improvements in leaps in last 6 months Climbing the MB D charts. Fast skater good size. A player trending upwards here.
- Kolby Hay – Big athletic goalie, good rebound control, plays big, takes away the angles and has the ability to recover on the rebounds / loose pucks.