The Cycle North Bantam Bears remained undefeated in the New Year with two more tournament wins, on consecutive weekends.
On Jan. 21-22, the local team of 13-14 yr. olds travelled to Houston for a five team tournament. Saturday morning the Bears started with a 6-2 victory over Terrace, and then followed with a hard fought 3-1 win over the hosts from Houston. Vanderhoof finished the day with a 5-2 victory over Burns Lake. The win came at a cost, however, as forward Jeff Boschman had to be transported to Hospital in Smithers after falling awkwardly into the boards. Boschman was treated and released the same evening, but unfortunately his weekend was over as he was forced to sit out with a stiff neck.
Sunday morning the Bears finished the round-robin with a 6-0 win over Hazelton. In the final, played Sunday afternoon, Vanderhoof again faced off against Houston in front of a raucus crowd. The Bears played the roll of spoiler by skating away with a well deserved 5-2 victory. Though all the kids played exceptionally well special kudos go out to Trent Emel and Caleb Kelly for their inspired play all weekend.
On Jan. 28-29, Vanderhoof played host to their own six team tournament. In their first game Saturday morning the Bears faced off against the PG Leafs in a chippy affair. The locals prevailed 6-0 with six different players finding the back of the net (Jason Yee, Jimmy Silver, Eric Silver, Kayden Bahr, Jayden Syrota and Bryce Deveau). Mark Pearson was strong in goal while posting the shutout. The game was marred by a brouhaha at the end of the third period involving several Leaf players ganging up on two Bears. As a result, game misconducts were handed out to players from both teams (meaning they had to sit out their teams’ next games).
In the evening a shorthanded Bears squad squared off against Mackenzie and won 8-2. Eric Silver led the way with two goals and two assists, while Bahr and Syrota tallied two goals and an assist each. Single goals went to Deveau and Calvin Li. Noah Miles was the winning goaltender for Vanderhoof.
On Sunday morning the locals faced off In the afternoon the Bears again met Houston in the final with the visitors looking to play the roll of spoiler this time around. In an exciting finale Vanderhoof spotted their rivals a 1-0 lead at the midway break. The Bears came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and took a 2-1 lead into the third period. The reunited trio of Bryce Deveau, Kayden Bahr and Eric Silver again led the way offensively. Silver and Deveau each scored powerplay goals in the third period as the Bears skated away with a 4-1 victory, and the Championship trophy. Silver and Deveau finished the game with four points each, while the ever improving Bahr added two assists. Mark Pearson was again strong in goal for Vanderhoof.
Vanderhoof finished their League play this past weekend with two games in Burns Lake. Up next for the Cycle North Bantam Bears are League playoffs and zones in late February.
THE BEAR FACTS:
Already missing key defensemen Tate Page and Joey Saharchuk for their semi-final game Sunday morning, Jayden Syrota was literally the last man standing when defense partner Cody Holland was forced to leave the game late in the first period, suffering from flu-like symptoms. Fortunately for the Bears Trent Emel and Tawny Weinhardt filled in admirably on the back end and the locals were able to secure a spot in the final against Houston. Jeff Boschman sat out the weekend, still recovering from a stiff neck suffered in the Houston tournament.