U17 Canadians Fall to Blazers in Quarterfinals

by K.P. Wee

The U17 AAA Greater Vancouver Canadians were defeated by the U17 Thompson Blazers in a two-game sweep in the BCEHL quarterfinals at the Richmond Olympic Oval over the weekend, ending GVC’s season.

With the series win, the Blazers move on to the semifinals. 

On Friday night, Thompson won 3-2 in a game that saw only one goal through the first two periods despite a matchup of the top two scoring teams during the regular season (GVC was No. 1 with 158 in 36 games, and the Blazers were No. 2 with 131). The Blazers scored with 31 seconds left in the first period for a 1-0 lead, and that score stood up until Thompson scored again two minutes into the third. Helius Guan scored short-handed off a giveaway in the Blazers zone with 7:40 remaining, but the Blazers made it 3-1 just 37 seconds later. Trevor Chin scored with only 0.1 seconds left to cut the deficit to 3-2, but ran out of time for the equalizer. 

The Blazers completed the series sweep on Saturday afternoon, beating the Canadians 5-2. Helius Guan put GVC ahead 1-0 at the 9:58 mark of the first, but a power-play goal just over two minutes later by Thompson tied it up. A short-handed goal four minutes into the second put the Blazers ahead for good, and Thompson then made it 3-1 with 6:08 left in the second. Nathan Van Hoeke scored on the power play with 4:33 remaining in the period to cut the deficit to 3-2, but that was as close as GVC got. A late second-period goal and then an empty-netter in the final minute of the third made the final score 5-2, as the Canadians’ season came to an end.

Despite the playoff setback, the U17 Canadians enjoyed a successful season, finishing first during the regular season with a 22-10-2-2 mark and leading the division in goals (158) and goal differential (+52). During the series against the Blazers, the Canadians ran into some hot goaltending, but Helius Guan led the way with two goals during the playoffs, with a total of eight players notching at least one point.