Bantam Cowichan Thunder punch ticket to provincials

Joel Perret charges into a Comox defender during the Cowichan Thunder’s Island final game at Kerry Park Arena last Sunday. (Paula Harris photo)Joel Perret charges into a Comox defender during the Cowichan Thunder’s Island final game at Kerry Park Arena last Sunday. (Paula Harris photo)
Ronan Boteler defends the ball from a Comox Wild player during the Cowichan Thunder’s Island final game at Kerry Park Arena last Sunday. (Paula Harris photo)Ronan Boteler defends the ball from a Comox Wild player during the Cowichan Thunder’s Island final game at Kerry Park Arena last Sunday. (Paula Harris photo)
Bantam Cowichan Thunder goaltender Tyson Atkinson makes a stop during his team’s win over the Campbell River Ravens in game three of the Island semifinal series at Kerry Park Arena last Saturday. (Paula Harris photo)Bantam Cowichan Thunder goaltender Tyson Atkinson makes a stop during his team’s win over the Campbell River Ravens in game three of the Island semifinal series at Kerry Park Arena last Saturday. (Paula Harris photo)

The bantam Cowichan Thunder are headed for the provincial championships after all.

It was reported in the Citizen’s June 30 issue that the bantam Thunder would be joining the peewee Thunder at provincials, but that announcement was a little premature.

At the time, the Cowichan bantam team still had to win the third game of a best-of-three series against the Campbell River Ravens in order to qualify for provincials as one of the top two teams on the Island.

They accomplished that goal with a 6-1 victory at Kerry Park Arena last Saturday.

Jett Blosky scored twice in the win, while Sada Bennefield, Sully Steeves, Owen Blace and Jesse Bell had singles, and goalie Tyson Atkinson was nearly perfect between the pipes.

The following day saw the Thunder back at Kerry Park, playing host to the Comox Valley Wild in a one-game, winner-take-all battle for the Island title. Missing one of their top players, the Thunder kept it close, but ultimately fell 5-3. Steeves scored all three Cowichan goals in the Island championship game.

Head coach Bill Sanderson recalled the team’s journey this season from a group of largely inexperienced players to provincial contenders.

“Well, the year started off with mostly rookies and hockey players, plus two years off with the pandemic,” Sanderson said. “As a team we had a lot to learn. The kids never missed a practice or lost focus on a healthy balance of fun and learning. It’s the most coachable team I have ever experienced. Their genuine joy of winning games and tourneys is infectious and as coaches we can’t wait to experience provincials with these kids.”

The provincial championships will be hosted by North Okanagan Minor Lacrosse in Vernon on July 14-17.

Lacrosse