For the second year in a row, the peewee A2 Cowichan Valley Thunder brought home the bronze medal from the provincial championships.
The Thunder lost just once at the tournament in Richmond, and closed out with a 7-5 victory over Port Moody in the third-place game.
“It was a good game,” Cowichan head coach Gord Macdonald said. “It was pretty fast. Everyone was working pretty hard to win it, and they were excited to win it. There were a lot of penalties, so that slowed things down a little bit. A couple of times it was 3-on-3.
“All the boys played well. They had a really good time.”
Cowichan went into the game with plenty of confidence, having defeated Port Moody 7-1 in the round robin, and twice earlier this year in other tournaments. In their other round-robin games, the Thunder defeated the host Richmond Roadrunners 7-4 and the Prince George Posse 6-5.
Their only loss came in the semifinal, a 9-5 defeat at the hands of the Surrey Rebels.
“It was closer than the score said,” Macdonald said. “We just didn’t get the bounces we usually get. We didn’t have the ball luck we get sometimes. The boys tried hard. It wasn’t that they played bad.
“We beat teams in the tournament that had beaten Surrey in the regular season. It just wasn’t the boys’ lucky day. They played just as well as Surrey did.”
The Saanich Tigers, who Cowichan beat 9-3 in the Island championship game earlier this month, took the silver medal, falling 5-4 to Surrey in the final. The Nanaimo A1 team, which Cowichan also defeated this year, took silver in their tournament.
As far as Macdonald was concerned, any of the A2 teams could have been in the final.
“All the teams in the tournament from the Mainland and the Island were good,” he said. “Any one of them could have won the gold medal.”
Keegan Martin received the Fair Play Award for Cowichan, and Walker Smith was named a tournament all-star.
“Keegan is always trying hard and he never gets penalties,” Macdonald said. “Walker played really, really hard all tournament. It was good that he got it.”
Macdonald also gave a shout out to goalie Clayton Rankin, who always showed up and stood tall every game, even if it meant shaking off an injury.
Macdonald thanked assistant coach Naomi Walser for the huge amount of coaching knowledge she brought to practices and games, Kevin Michieli and Danny Olson for their help at practices on the bench and Kathy Adelborg for managing the team.