The Campbell River Minor Hockey Bantam House All Stars, a team comprised of players from all four recreational Bantam teams, won gold at Ridge Meadow’s Annual Hometown Hero’s Hockey Tournament Jan. 2-5.
The team which had never played a game together prior to the tournament, crossed over from it’s non-contact recreational roots into the fast-paced, full-contact, six-team Bantam A division. In round robin play, Campbell River was 1-win, 1-tie and 2-losses coming fourth in the pool to clinch the last playoff spot. In an early morning semi-final battle against round robin 1st place team the Vancouver Washington Rangers, Campbell River set the pace for three periods at both ends of the ice defeating the Rangers 6-1 to move on to the gold medal match against Portland.
After a fast-paced, scoreless first period, Campbell River drew first blood with a goal at 14:51 of the second period, scored by Eli Saxby unassisted. Portland answered at 7:00 of the second and then again with 7.4 seconds left. Kobe Koizumi denied Portland any momentum with a game tying goal beating the buzzer at 1.8 seconds, assisted by Ryan Newton.
Goalie Jasper Van de Vlasakker – Campbell River’s only goalie for the tournament – was exceptional, shutting down the Portland onslaught of shots including an one-on-one denial of what would have been a game tying penalty shot in the third period. Brendan Burnside sniped the highlight reel worthy game winning goal on a pass from Kobe Koizumi at 10:18 of the third period. The team continued to build momentum dominating play and denying Portland any opportunity in the last few minutes to seal the win and claim gold.
Jasper Van de Vlasakker, Braydon Penn, Eli Saxby, Kobe Koizumi, Gavin Mowat and Brandon Schulte were named game MVP’s over the tournament.