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West Kootenay U15 AA Crusaders raise playoff banner

West Kootenay U15 Crusaders defeat East Kootenay rival in final to win OMAHA Tier 1 AA Zone playoffs
The West Kootenay Crusaders captured the U15AA Tier 1 banner after winning the OMAHA U15 AA Playoffs in Kamloops on Sunday, March 5. Photo: contributed

The West Kootenay U15 Crusaders captured the OMAHA Zone League playoff championship in Kamloops March 3-5.

The Crusaders defeated the East Kootenay AA Avalanche 4-2 in the final and will play in the 2023 BC Tier 1 AA U15 provincial championships in Fort St. John.

Crusaders defenceman Brayden Tremblay broke a 2-2 tie, scoring a shorthanded goal and the game winner with 7:19 to play in the second period.

The win clinched the playoff tournament banner capping off a great season for the West Kootenay team, who played in four tournament finals.

Goals from Wade Gallamore and Lane Peet gave the Crusaders a 2-1 first period lead, but Aiden Steffano tied it for the Avalanche midway through the middle frame.

The Crusaders played well defensively in the third, and Gage Kiselback tallied an insurance goal from Tremblay and Dayton Graf with 4:24 to play for the 4-2 final.

Miller Tedesco led all Crusaders in playoff scoring with four goals and eight points in five games, followed by Kiselback and Peet with four goals and seven points.

The regional playoffs didn’t start so promising with East Kootenay beating the West Kootenay Crusaders 5-2 on Friday, March 3.

But the Crusaders rebounded on Saturday, battling back from a 4-1 deficit on their way to a thrilling 7-6 shootout victory over the home team OMAHA Thompson.

West Kootenay then handily beat OMAHA South Regional 9-4, then rolled over OMAHA North Regional 8-3 in the semifinal.

The Crusaders also won the regular season championship banner with a 19-3-2 record, beating out OMAHA Central U15 AA by one point. Crusader Benjamin Fragle also captured the scoring title with 27 goals and 49 points in 22 games.

The team travels to Fort St. John for the provincial championships March 18-22.

Read:U15 AA Crusaders clinch provincial berth

Jim Bailey

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