The Campbell River Tier-2 Bantam Tyees are provincial champs.
The Tyees went through some adversity in the round robin, losing to Burnaby Winter Club, but in the end they rose to the occasion and beat their round-robin rival in the final, 2-1 in overtime.
The Tyees didn’t waste any time in the extra period. Thirty-three seconds in, Josh Coblenz stole the puck at the Burnaby blue line walked in and fired a high missile shortside to send the team into delirium.
“I got off the bench, the d-man bobbled the puck and I stole it from him and then I was going to make a pass, but thought ‘no,’ I’ll just throw it at the net and it went in,” said Josh Coblenz.
Coblenz was one of the best forwards for the fish, his three points in the semifinal lifted them to a 4-3 win over the Cranbrook Bantam Ice.
But the game with Burnaby was tight all the way and was scoreless heading into the third; until the 12:50 mark when Burnaby’s Kenessary Kylyshbek buried a centering pass from Jake Kryshki over the blocker of Tyee goalie Nic Kirchner to put the club up 1-0.
With 5:43 to play and the Tyees desperate, Joe Gage made an incredible play at the blue-line diving to keep the puck in the Burnaby zone, then making a pass to Travis Goodwin from his stomach. Goodwin slid the puck to Grady McInnes in the slot, who airmailed it top corner to tie it at 1-1.
“That was a friggin unreal play,” said Tyee coach Peter Martin. “The guys see it, I mean you look at inspiring moments – that was one.”
Forty seconds later however, the Tyees took a penalty, their only penalty of the game. Burnaby threatened to go up, but Kirchner stood tall and Campbell River patiently killed the short-handed situation.
“They just never quit. Your down 1-0 in the third period of the championship game, five minutes left – all you ever work on is just how much determination they really have to win, and that’s what you see.”
Campbell River finished second in Pool B. After losing 3-2 to Burnaby, the Tyee beat Westside 8-7 and Fort St. John 13-2 in the round robin. They were then victorious in the semifinal over a tough Cranbrook side, 4-3, to make it into the final match.
The team was consistent up front, good defensively, with not a lot of flash but a ton of character, and a very solid collective approach to the game.
“The thing we talked about between the second and third period, was team stuff. It doesn’t matter who does it, we are all in this together, and that’s what we’ve tried to teach everybody.”
Burnaby faced Rossland-Trail in Tuesday night’s other semifinal, and despite a good effort from the Bantam Smoke Eaters, they bowed to the Winter Club 3-1.
R-T played Cranbrook in the consolation final and were tied 3-3 until, with eight seconds remaining on the clock, the bantam Ice scored to snatch a 4-3 victory.