U17 Canadians Split Pair vs. Cougars After Clinching Top Spot

by K.P. Wee

The U17 AAA Greater Vancouver Canadians entered the final weekend of the regular season having lost four out of their last five but still clinched first place in the U17 division standings before taking the ice against the Cariboo Cougars in Prince George. 

When the second-place Thunderbirds lost both of their remaining two games during the week (on Monday and Friday), the Canadians secured top spot in the division. GVC then split its two games against the Cougars over the weekend, losing 3-1 on Saturday before prevailing 3-2 in overtime on Sunday to close out the regular season on a winning note. 

Saturday’s 3-1 loss marked the Canadians’ fifth loss in their last six games. Aidan Mark gave GVC a 1-0 lead midway through the first period—his 19th goal of the season—but the Cougars tied things up with 1:33 left in the frame. It stayed 1-1 until the Cougars went ahead for good with a power-play tally 1:06 into the third, and then Cariboo added an empty-net goal with 1:02 remaining in the game. Alan Peregrym made 15 saves for the Canadians. 

On Sunday, the Canadians gave up a 2-1 lead in the third period but still won when Helius Guan scored the OT winner 1:05 into the extra frame, his 16th goal of the season. Liam Leslie made 24 saves and Joshua Mantle (his sixth) and Sorash Ramlal (his 15th) had the other GVC goals. 

Despite losing five of their eight games in February, the U17 Canadians still finished with the division’s best record at 22-10-2-2 for 48 points. They also finished with a division-best 158 goals and +52 goal differential. 

Next up, the first round of the playoffs against the Thompson Blazers (16-16-1-3) beginning on Friday, March 1. The teams will play a best-of-three series at the Richmond Olympic Oval, with the winner advancing to the semifinals the following week. The Canadians went 5-0 against the Blazers during the season, including an 8-7 overtime victory on Dec. 17.

Game One is scheduled for Friday, March 1, at 6:15 p.m. Game Two is on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., and Game Three (if necessary) is on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. All playoff contests can be seen on playfullscreen.com