Bruins down Abby bantams in B.C. final

The Burnaby Winter Club Bruins beat the Abbotsford Hawks 6-3 in the provincial Bantam Tier 1 championship on Wednesday night at a packed MSA Arena.

Abbotsford bantams celebrate their first goal of the B.C. championship game.

Abbotsford bantams celebrate their first goal of the B.C. championship game.

The Burnaby Winter Club Bruins beat the Abbotsford Hawks 6-3 in the provincial Bantam Tier 1 championship on Wednesday night at a packed MSA Arena.

The Abbotsford Hawks had upset BWC in two straight post-season games, but beating the vaunted BWC Bruins in three straight matchups was a tall order.

“BWC came out extremely hard. There’s a lot of championship experience on their roster, and they knew how to step it up for a championship, and we didn’t match it,” said Abbotsford coach Troy Campbell.

He said “undisciplined and untimely hits” put Abbotsford on the penalty kill too often, and the Bruins power play took control of the game.

Although they had beaten BWC in the first game of the provincial tournament on Sunday morning, Abbotsford was a nervous team for the opening minutes of the game. The bruins scored just 1:17 into the contest, then capitalized on an early power play to go up 2-0 before five minutes had elapsed.

But 15 seconds after the second goal Abbotsford answered. Matt Revel streaked down the wing and sniped a bottom corner with a low wrist shot that made it 2-1.

With 58 seconds left in the first period BWC made it 3-1 on a flukey shorthanded goal. A Bruin was cutting to the Abbotsord net, and was stopped with a pokecheck. But the puck looped up into the air, over the Abbotsord netminder, and landed in the net.

The second period saw Abbotsford draw to within in a goal again, with a shorthanded marker of their own. Abbotsford was down two men after hard hits that resulted in penalties, and BWC started to work on a long two-man advantage, for a minute and a half.

Revel picked off a pass between the Bruins point men, streaked in on a breakaway, and deked the goaltender to close the gap to 3-2.

But the Bruins used their two-man advantage to restore the two-goal lead, working the puck down low, swarming the net and burying a short shot.

Burnaby got a late power play goal to go into the second intermission up 5-2, and maintained that three-goal margin through the final frame.

“They deserved to win. They were the better team on the day,” said Campbell.

As to his team, he hopes they can look back on a great season.

“They should be proud of what they accomplished,” he said. “To have a chance to play in a provincial final is a heck of an experience.”

 

Bantam draft

Now that the season is over, Abbotsford’s elite bantam hockey players will turn their attention to the Western Hockey League’s bantam draft, scheduled for May 5 in Calgary.

“There’s a good chance eight to 10 kids will get drafted,” said Campbell.

What’s more, high scoring forward Jake Virtanen is expected to be one of the first players selected, potentially first overall.

“He’s the best skater in the league, and a pure goal scorer,” said Campbell. “He picks corners at any angle, and he’s got a hard shot.”