Victoria team 4’s Brennan Herr stands his ground to defend against Cowichan Valley team 2’s Trey West. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Bantam hockey tournament final a battle of Victoria teams

Allowing only seven goals in four games a key for the victorious Victoria squad

The holiday season is always synonymous with hockey tournaments and the Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey Association’s Bantam Winter Classic kicked off 2020 in fine style for Bantam C recreational teams at Fuller Lake Arena.

The two-day event Jan. 4 and 5 featured three Cowichan Valley teams and two from Victoria as well as representatives from Juan de Fuca, Comox and Port McNeill.

It came down to a battle between the two Victoria teams and Victoria Bantam C4 edged its Victoria 6 counterparts from the Victoria Minor Hockey Association 3-2.

“We were very excited to win the gold medal,” noted Mike Renaud, coach of the Victoria C4 squad. “It was a great weekend of hockey for our players and their families.

“It’s always fun for us to play against teams from outside of our league. We really appreciated the opportunity to share the ice with a couple of teams from the Cowichan Valley, as well as a team from Port McNeill. Facing one of the other Victoria teams in the final game was definitely fun for us. They are a strong team and I’m happy that it was a really close game that both teams can be very proud of.”

Renaud added every player on his team contributed on the ice in their own way and the group maintained a positive disposition on the bench, in the dressing room and on the ice.

“I think those were two important keys to our success,” he indicated. We played well together as a team and each one of our players put in their full effort every time they were on the ice. Also, we had just seven goals against in our four games so strong goaltending and defensive play were important factors for us as well.”

Renaud expressed his thanks to tournament organizers for putting on such a great event.

“We know how much hard work it takes to pull off an event like this and want them to know that it was very much appreciated,” he emphasized.

Victoria 4 topped Pool A with two wins and a tie to qualify for the championship game. Cowichan Valley 1 finished at 1-1-1 while Cowichan Valley 2 was 1-0-2 and Port McNeill brought up the rear with three straight losses.

In Pool B, Victoria 6 went undefeated in three games, only to suffer its lone loss of the tournament to Victoria 4 in the final. Cowichan Valley 3, Juan de Fuca and Comox all wound up with 1-2 records in the closely-contested division outside the Victoria 6 leaders.

In the third-place game, Cowichan Valley C3 defeated Cowichan Valley C2 5-2 in another clash of familiar foes. Juan de Fuca won 2-1 over Cowichan Valley 1 for fifth place and the seventh-place game went to Comox over Port McNeill by a 10-3 count.

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Long reach of Victoria team 4’s Oliver Andrade allows him to look for a shot on goal, as defender Matty McCormick of the Cowichan Valley C2 team tries to head him off at the pass. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Tylon Closson of the Cowichan Valley 3 team does his best to stop a breakaway for Victoria 6 without taking a penalty. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Miles Gray of the Cowichan Valley 3 team looks to make a pass while surrounded by Victoria 6 team defenders. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Garrett McIntosh of Cowichan Valley 2 attempts to thwart a good Port McNeill scoring chance. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Owen Woodward of the Cowichan Valley 2 team wraps up his man during a game against Port McNeill in the Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey Association’s Bantam Winter Classic. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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