From a dominating performance to a pair of arch rivals meeting in the championship game, the 11th annual Seafair Icebreaker Tournament served up a Thanksgiving feast of action over the long weekend at the Richmond Ice Centre.
The event provides a steady dose of competition for rep teams as they get their season into full swing. The host association more than held their own as Seafair Hockey took three of the four tier one titles and settled for silver in the other.
The organization's top Pee Wee team lived up to its early season hype by showing why its the No. 1 ranked squad in the province. The Islanders rolled five straight victories to take home gold, including a 5-0 triumph over a shorthanded Victoria Racquet Club team in Monday afternoon's championship game. The team, coached by Vancouver Giants
assistant and Seafair's director of hockey operations Yogi Svejkovsky, earlier produced lopsided round-robin wins over Phoenix (10-0), North Vancouver (9-0) and Surrey (14-0) before finally being tested in a 3-1 victory against Juan de Fuca in the semi-finals. VRC also put up a determined fight, trailing 3-0 after 40 minutes, then running out of steam in the final period.
The most intriguing and exciting final was served up at the youngest age level as Seafair trimmed Richmond Minor 3-2 in overtime to capture the Atom Tier One title. The Islanders enjoyed a 2-0 second period lead when the Blues pulled within one, then tied it in the early stages of the third.
Richmond appeared to have the advantage heading into overtime when Seafair was accessed a tripping penalty in the final minute of regulation. However, the Islanders struck just 12 seconds into the extra frame for the dramatic win.
Seafair had defeated Richmond 6-0 in earlier round-robin action. The Blues rebounded with a win over Nanaimo (4-3) to nail down a playoff spot, then beat the same Island team again (8-3) in the semi-finals. Seafair blanked Juan de Fuca 7-0 in the other final four match-up.
Richmond Minor's coaching staff includes UBC head coach Milan Dragicevic who works as an assistant to Kirk Darbyshire.
There was more drama in the Midget Tier One final as the Islanders needed a shootout to slip past Vancouver Minor 3-2. All the scoring was done through 40 minutes, as a scoreless third period was followed by five minutes of four-on-four overtime hockey which couldn't produce a winner.
Both teams entered the championship game with perfect records, as Steve Robinson's squad dumped Cloverdale 7-4 in the semis, after earlier wins over Seattle (5-0), Juan de Fuca (3-1) and Vancouver Minor (3-2).
The Ryan Weber coached Seafair Bantam A1 team rolled off four straight wins before falling 4-1 to Cowichan in the final. The Island squad opened up a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes and added one more in each of the final two periods to deny the Islanders a fourth consecutive tournament title.
Seafair did manage to win a fourth championship, as the Islanders dominated the Atom Tier 2 division, capping a perfect run with an 11-0 win over Saanich in the final.
Other division champions included Saanich winning the Bantam and Midget Tier 2 titles, while Whitehorse captured the Pee Wee Tier 2 crown.
© Copyright 2013