Although they went 3-0 in pool play at the Tier 2 provincial championships for the first time ever, the U18 Mid Island Lightning couldn’t keep up the momentum in the medal round and had to settle for a fourth-place finish, while Colton Lidstone claimed tournament MVP honours.
The Lightning, who went into provincials as the Island champions, got off to a strong start in pool play, beating Quesnel 20-1 and Coquitlam #3 10-7 before getting past Surrey 9-8 to finish first in their group.
“That set us up to play the second-place team in the other pool, which was in our favour,” Mid Island head coach Dan Cleemoff said.
Mid Island squared off against Vancouver on Sunday evening in the semifinal, the second game of the day for both teams. Tied after regulation, the teams played two four-minute overtime periods, and Vancouver won 8-7.
“We missed playing for gold by one goal,” Cleemoff said.
While Vancouver and Coquitlam #3, who finished second in their respective pools, played for gold on Monday, Mid Island and Coquitlam #2, the two first-place teams from pool play, squared off for bronze. The Lightning ended up on the wrong side of a 9-6 final score.
“Things weren’t going our way,” Cleemoff said. “We were up at halftime, but we couldn’t finish. We played well the whole time. It wasn’t like we did anything wrong.
“It was unfortunate that the gold medal winner was a team that we beat in the round robin. That’s hard to take, but we know that on any given day, anybody can win.”
Lidstone was named tournament MVP as voted by all the Tier 2 coaches.
“Every game, he was a factor, as everybody was,” Cleemoff said. “Obviously we had good defence in all our games, and our forwards did their jobs. Everyone did their jobs.”
Cleemoff noted that all the Mid Island forwards and midfielders got on the scoresheet, including Devon McCormick, who scored his first three goals of the season in the game against Quesnel and was picked by his own coaches for the sportsmanship award.