The Burnaby Winter Club AAA bantams will have another banner to hang at their club after a 3-0 win over the Southgate Lions in the final of the Western Canadian bantam AAA championships in Stony Plain, Alta. on April 8.
The Burnaby boys outscored their opponents 21-7 over four round-robin games and won the championship with goals from Braeden Gurney, on the power play, Adam Musil, on a tip and captain Mathew Barzal, into an empty net.
Burnaby had previously defeat-ed Southgate 4-3 in a round-robin game on Saturday.
Burnaby head coach John Batchelor had nothing but kind words for his captain, who many project as a high pick in next month's Western Hockey League bantam draft.
"He should go number 1," said Batchelor. "There's no doubt he's the best bantam player in Western Canada. I know he wants to play in the NHL and he knows the 'Dub may be the best way for him to get there."
Batchelor said he thinks his squad may have four or five firstrounders in the bantam draft, including Adam Musil, the son of former NHL player Frank Musil.
"Adam, he's going to be a horse," said Batchelor. "He played the last game with a broken thumb after sitting out two games. ... And in the game he broke his thumb, he had five points."
Also starring for Burnaby was netminder Nick McBride, who stopped 17 shots for the shutout.
Batchelor said the turning point for his squad was in mid-February, when his star-studded lineup realized that egos were getting in the way of team goals.
"For most of the first part of the year, they thought they could win on talent alone," said Batchelor. "There wasn't quite the cohesion that we had last year. But in mid-February, it came together for these kids and they were able to win another title."
Batchelor said this year's squad was a big favourite and that meant fans cheering against them.
"We used that as a rallying cry," said Batchelor. "We wanted to channel that negative energy into our play on the ice."
As for how he will remember this squad, Batchelor said: "What made it special for me is I really got to know some of these kids. There was a special bond that developed. I'm really happy they figured everything out and they were rewarded in the end."
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