The BRI Security U15 Lakers held an eight-team hockey tournament on Jan. 6-8, featuring seven teams from across Vancouver Island visiting the hometown squad.
“Many families, friends and members of the community came out to cheer on the Lakers,” said tournament coordinator Kari McKinlay.
The support was felt by the team as after three round robin games, the Lakers found themselves in the gold medal game on Sunday against the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies.
The game was filled with end-to-end action with Ty McKinlay scoring at 10:55 of the first period putting the Lakers up 1-0. The goal was assisted by Carl Stenberg and Falyne Smith.
The second period had many scoring opportunities but rock solid goaltending by Lakers goalie Anthony Rondow took the gold medal match into the third period with the hometown team still ahead by one goal.
The crowd was on their feet in the third when McKinlay scored again, assisted by Stenberg and Smith. The marker put Lake Cowichan up 2-0 with just over 13 minutes left in the game.
A shutout wasn’t meant to be, however, as a late goal by Juan de Fuca made the score 2-1 with three minutes remaining in the game.
The Lakers answered back quickly when Landon Garnett gained control of the puck off the draw and scored his team’s third goal, assisted by Lily Allen, to put Lake Cowichan up 3-1 with two minutes remaining.
Then, with less than a minute to go, Garnett intercepted the puck and added an empty net goal, securing the 4-1 victory and the gold medal in their own tournament.
Jaxon “JZ” Zalinko was named MVP for the final game while Garnett received the Heart and Hustle player of the game award.
In the bronze medal game, teams from Oceanside Minor Hockey and Comox Valley Minor Hockey faced off with Comox winning by a score of 4-2.
“The weekend was a huge success with positive feedback from all teams involved,” McKinlay said.
The Lake Cowichan U15 Lakers are: Dixie Bergman, Kiera Eaton, Ollie Fawcett, Kohen Hartmann, Ty McKinlay (C), Anthony Rondow, Cruz Scheffer, Falyne Smith, Carl Stenberg, Jaxon Zalinko, Lily Allen, Tanner Beck, Brandon, Denton, Landon Garnett, Kenley Knott and Taylor Thomassen.
Lake Cowichan Minor Hockey looks forward to also hosting its annual Jamboree Day on Jan. 21 which will feature each division’s game, the association’s skills event from 12:10-2 p.m. The puck drops for the much-anticipated alumni game at 7:10 p.m. that will celebrate 52 years of Lake Cowichan hockey.