Bantam Hawks win bronze at home tourney
The Abbotsford bantam A1 Hawks managed a podium finish at their home tournament, the Dallas Saunders Memorial Invitational, on the weekend.
But in the aftermath, the Hawks had the distinct sense that if not for some lousy puck luck, they might have a brighter medal than bronze.
In the semifinals, Abbotsford out-shot Kelowna by a 2-1 margin, but the Okanagan squad rode an early 2-0 lead to a 4-3 victory.
“I thought we battled hard throughout the weekend, but we didn’t get the breaks you need in a one-goal game (in the semis),” Hawks head coach Brad Bowen noted. “A little bit more focus at the start of the game would have been real good.
“But we had our opportunities to score – we missed some open nets and hit some crossbars.”
The host Hawks went 4-0 during pool play, and they bounced back in a big way after the Kelowna loss, blasting Coquitlam 7-3 in the third-place game.
Langley took the gold medal, blanking Kelowna 3-0 in the final.
Abbotsford forward Carter Shannon was named a first team all-star after leading the Hawks in scoring with nine goals and five assists in six games.
Team captain Kohen Olischefski won the Dallas Saunders award, which recognizes leadership and character. The award is presented annually in memory of former Hawks player Saunders, who died tragically in 1996 at the age of 15 after being hit in the chest with the puck while attempting to block a shot.
“He’s probably been our most consistent player throughout the season, and he’s a very unselfish player,” Bowen said of Olischefski, who had a productive tourney with three goals and nine assists.
Abbotsford's Roman Sami also made an impact on the scoreboard, notching five goals and four assists.
Tournament all-stars included forwards Shannon, James Malm (Langley) and Caleb Fantillo (Coquitlam); defencemen Dennis Cholowski (Langley) and Sam De Melo (Kelowna); and goalie Giovanni Sambrielaz (Kelowna).