U17 Canadians Drop Two Close Games vs. Thunderbirds

by K.P. Wee

The first-place U17 AAA Greater Vancouver Canadians dropped both games of their home-and-home series against the second-place Fraser Valley Thunderbirds over the weekend, as GVC’s lead in the division standings has shrunk to two points with only four games remaining in the regular season.

The Canadians have lost three consecutive games—the first time they have done so all season.

On Saturday at the Abbotsford Centre, Aidan Mark and John Bethell scored for the Canadians, but the Thunderbirds rallied from a 2-1 deficit to defeat GVC 4-2. Alan Peregrym stopped 28 shots for the Canadians, including 16 in the third period.

On Sunday at the Richmond Oval—the Canadians’ final home game of the regular season—the Thunderbirds jumped out to a 2-0 lead and hung on for a 2-1 victory to complete the series sweep. Joshua Mantle scored with 12:04 left in regulation with GVC on a 6-on-3 advantage, as the Thunderbirds had two players in the penalty box and the Canadians pulled goalie Liam Leslie for an extra skater. The Canadians outshot Fraser Valley 40-27 and Leslie made 25 saves, but GVC could not get the tying goal in this one.

The Canadians are now 20-8-2-2, and face Fraser Valley (18-8-3-3) on Sunday (Feb. 18) at 4:15 p.m. in a showcase weekend at Newton Arena in Surrey. Prior to that, the Canadians will take on the last-place Vancouver Island Royals (6-24-1-3) on Saturday (Feb. 17) at 12:45 p.m.