The Castlegar Rebels took home the bronze medal from the Cyclone Taylor Cup with an exciting 5-4 comeback win over the Comox Glacier Kings Sunday in Comox, but it was the Richmond Sockeyes that stole the show, and hoisted their fifth Cup after a 4-1 victory over the Victoria Cougars.
Jake Roder scored the winner at 10:47 as the Sockeyes erupted for four goals in the second period to erase a 1-0 Victoria first-period lead.
Richmond cruised through the round robin with a 3-0 record, including a close 3-2 victory that doused Castlegar’s hopes Saturday.
It’s the second year in a row the Victoria Cougars have succumbed to a Pacific Junior Hockey League team in the final, losing to the Abbotsford Pilots in last year’s Cyclone Cup final.
Mathew Ho started the scoring for the Cougars 3:18 in the first, but goals from Jeremy Hamaguchi, Roder, Liam Lawson and Rudie Thorstenstein put the Cougars away early, assuring a Richmond berth in the Keystone Cup.
The Rebels began the tournament with a 3-1 win over Comox on Thursday night, then dropped a 1-0 thriller against Victoria on Friday. Coincidentally, it was a former Trail Smoke Eater that won the game for the Cougars. Brandon Egli, who played the full 2010-11 campaign and the beginning of this season in Trail, netted the lone goal of the game beating Rebel’s goalie Jordan Gluck at 5:47 of the second period.
“Really, both games came down to not finishing goal-scoring chances,” Rebels coach Steve Junker told the Castlegar News’ Marvin Beatty after the Victoria loss. “In game one, we didn’t play our best hockey and gave up a number of opportunities that the Glacier Kings weren’t able to capitalize on. Connor Beauchamp played great [in game one] and eventually we capitalized and got stronger as that game went on.”
The Rebels needed a win against Richmond on Saturday to advance, but couldn’t complete the comeback, losing 3-2.
In the Castlegar-Comox consolation final, the Rebels did weather an early storm, then charged back from a 3-0 deficit to seize a 5-4 victory.
Trail native Jamie Vlanich was named player of the game for the Rebels netting two goals and an assist in the dramatic win.
Travis Wellman netted what proved to be the winner on the power play converting a pass from Stuart Walton to make the score 5-3 late in the second period.
The Glacier Kings grabbed a quick three-goal lead seven minutes into the first on goals from Sheldon Brett, Tyson Rennie, and Nick Tupper.
Cue the comeback. Vlanich notched his first of the night at 7:21 of the opening frame, finishing a nice pass from captain Eric Alden. Disher would draw Castlegar to within one with just over four minutes remaining in the first.
Vlanich would tie it at 5:01 of the second period on a great individual effort, and would then set up Eric Alden to give the Rebels the 4-3 outright lead on another power play. Penalties hurt the host Glacier Kings as they were shorthanded six times in the second period alone, and the Rebels fired 17 of its 47 shots at the Comox goal, while the Glacier Kings could muster only four in the period and 21 overall.
The PJHL champions, Sockeyes, won their fifth Cyclone Taylor Cup to go with past titles from 2009, 2004, 2003 and 1992, and will play in the Keystone Cup Apr. 17-21 in St. Malo, Man. Richmond also won the Keystone in 2009.
The B.C. representative Sockeyes will play in the round-robin tournament against the host St. Malo Warriors, Saskatchewan representative the Saskatoon Royals, Manitoba rep Peguis Juniors, Thunder Bay Northern Hawks from Ontario, and the Okotoks Bisons out of Alberta.