Grizzlies fight back
The Juan de Fuca Grizzlies were obviously happy, but also very gracious winners.
The champs had good things to say about the Cowichan Valley Peewee Tier 1 Winter Classic hockey tournament at Fuller Lake Arena
“It was a great tournament that was well-run and, unfortunately— not for us — the home team lost in the finals, but it was a great few days of hockey ending on New Year’s Eve,’’ noted Juan de Fuca coach Darrin Piercey.
Piercey and assistant coaches Dave McClintick and Matt Curtis were extremely proud of the effort put out by the entire team.
In the round robin, the Grizzlies defeated the Kerry Park Islanders 8-0, tied the Comox Valley Chiefs 2-2 and then suffered a crushing 13-2 loss in their second game of the day to their league rival and host Cowichan Valley Capitals 13-2.
Juan de Fuca limped into the semifinals with the loss of an assistant captain to injury in the last round robin game, two players battling the flu and one away on vacation.
Juan de Fuca went in as underdogs against the first-place Nanaimo Clippers, a team it hadn’t beaten this season, but won a hard-fought 6-4 battle to reach the championship game.
Cowichan Valley emerged from the other semifinal at Cowichan Arena, beating Powell River 7-3.
The rematch was a totally different game from the 13-2 thumping Cowichan Valley handed Juan de Fuca just one day earlier.
It ended 2-0 for the Grizzlies in an incredibly well-played game by both teams.
After a scoreless first period, Juan de Fuca defenceman Tory McClintick found the back of the net midway through the second.
“The game was very physical and, with the depleted Juan de Fuca bench, many parents were wondering how long the team would keep the strong Capitals from scoring,’’ noted Piercey.
But goaltender Brady Thompson stole the show and was named the game’s MVP.
With a little more than two minutes left in the game, Juan de Fuca forward Brendan Martin broke into the clear and buried a shot into the top corner for the insurance marker.