U15 Canadians Upset First-Place Thunderbirds in OT

by K.P. Wee

Connor Ma scored a power-play goal in overtime, as the U15 AAA Greater Vancouver Canadians recorded one of their most improbable victories of the season, beating the first-place Fraser Valley Thunderbirds 4-3 on Wednesday night at the Richmond Olympic Oval. 

The Canadians are now 8-10-1-2, tied for fifth place with the Vancouver North West Hawks, who will play a pair of games this weekend in Prince George. The Thunderbirds, meanwhile, still sit comfortably atop the U15 standings with a 19-2-0-1 mark. 

Entering the game, the Thunderbirds had allowed only 20 goals in 21 games (fewer than a goal a game) while owning a remarkable +105 goal differential (with 125 goals for).

The Canadians, however, took a 2-1 lead after two periods, with William Trolland scoring both of the GVC goals (his team-leading 11th and 12th of the season). Fraser Valley tied things up five minutes into the third, before Magnus Balakrishnan (with his third goal of the season) put the Canadians ahead 3-2 with only 7:48 remaining. The Thunderbirds tied the game 3-3 with 4:18 left, but in overtime Fraser Valley was called for a head contact penalty. With a 4-on-3 advantage, Connor Ma scored the game-winner at the 1:07 mark of the extra period, his second goal of the season, giving GVC the thrilling victory.

Joshua Read was called upon to make 41 saves, as the Thunderbirds outshot GVC 44-13 in the game. Fraser Valley was also 0-for-6 on the power play. 

Next up for the U15 Canadians, a matchup next Wednesday (Jan. 31) against the North West Hawks at the Richmond Oval. The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and can be seen on playfullscreen.com.