Chicago succeeds in Quinn mission

Chelsea Dagger was the song of choice at the Bill Copeland Sports Complex most of last week.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ celebratory scoring staple tune fit well with the visiting Chicago Mission bantam majors hockey team, as they rolled undefeated through the Pat Quinn Classic, which wrapped last Wednesday with a 5-3 victory over the Delta Wild.
The bantam elite division final didn’t have much drama in the opening 20 minutes, as Chicago blitzed to a 4-0 win, chasing Delta netminder Boston Bilous from the crease.
Owen Lindmark’s tally with 34 seconds left in the frame proved to be the game winner.
Delta, part of a Ladner-based hockey academy in its fifth year of operation, put together a valiant rally attempt but couldn’t squeeze more than three goals past Chicago goalie Jackson Bernard.
Getting a chance to defeat a Canadian team on northern ice is a side treat to the excursion, remarked former NHLer Gino Cavallini.
“We certainly enjoy it when we do,” said the Mission coach. “The last six years I’ve had teams I’d put up against any team in the world really, and this is another one we’re starting to build on. Hopefully we’re at (U.S.) nationals at the end of the year with this group. There will be a couple of pros out of this group some day, that’s what we project.”
The Mission torpedoed the Wild with some timely scoring, including a shorthanded tally by Luke Toporowski midway through the first. Down 4-0 after 20 minutes, Delta closed the gap on a powerplay goal from Keegan Craik three minutes into the middle period, but Toporowski countered with his eighth of the tourney. The Wild added two more on the powerplay, and did force Bernard to make a couple of solid saves.
But Chicago remained firmly in control.
“I think we prepared well for this game but they just had more juice, more energy and more jump,” said Delta coach Yogi Svejkovsky. “At the end of the day the first period was what it was. After that nothing really changed, we didn’t change many things but we found our legs and got a little more competitive to claw back.”
Toporowski’s two goals gave him a tourney-leading eight over six games. Lindmark finished with seven goals and tied with Delta’s Dylan Cozens for second overall. Lindmark was voted the tournament MVP, and finished in a three-way tie with Lethbridge’s Ridly Greig and Toporowski for the scoring lead at 13 points.
“It’s a great momentum builder here,” said Lindmark, 15. “We started the year off slow but we’re starting to come on now… We were just trying to stick to our overall game plan, which is play the body, put pucks on net and crash the net for rebounds.”
Cavallini said Lindmark was a well-deserved choice for MVP.
“He works hard off the ice, he works hard at practice. He listens, he’s very coachable and he’s another one of those players who drives this engine for us,” said the Chicago coach.
The Pat Quinn Classic, formerly known as the Burnaby Minor Holiday Bantam tournament, celebrated a strong turnout with a number of tight affairs in the elite division. The Burnaby Winter Club Bruins was one of three teams – joining Chicago and Yale Academy – with a perfect 3-0 record exiting pool play.
They were bumped from the championship bracket by the Los Angeles junior Kings 2-1.
Burnaby ended up winning its final game, 4-1 over Notre Dame, on goals by Ryan Denney, Massimo Rizzo, Henrik Rybinski and Joshua O’Keefe.
Picking up awards in the bantam elite division were Los Angeles’ Dustin Wolf (top goaltender), Lethbridge’s Bowen Byram (top defenceman), Toporowski (top scorer) and Lindmark.
In the bantam division, the Kelowna Rockets edged Seafair 3-1 in the gold final, with Will Reimer counting his second of the game with just 34 seconds left in regulation.
The Phoenix junior Coyotes slipped past Seattle 3-2 to take the bronze medal, while the Delta Wild defeated the Burnaby Bulldogs 8-2 in the consolation bracket final.
The host Bulldogs entered the playoff round, like their cross-town rival Burnaby Winter Club Bruins, with a 3-1 record but were quickly brushed aside in the first playoff test, 6-1 by Phoenix.
In the consolation side, the two Burnaby teams met with the Bulldogs prevailing 6-4. Jaden Apan’s goal with 11 minutes left in the third period proved to be the game-winner. Also scoring in the win were Dante Ballarin, Eric Fong, Daniel Juca, Marcus Klarich and Marcus Wong.
Scoring for the Bruins were Jackson Murphy-Johnson, Justin Scott, Kalen Szeto and Josh Trozzo. Scott would finish the six-game series tied for the scoring lead at 14 points, including nine goals, while Szeto posted five goals and seven assists for 12 points. Burnaby minor’s Kaiden Johnson counted seven goals.
Joining Scott in a tie for scoring leader were Kelowna’s Kaden Meszaros (three goals, 11 assists) and Delta’s Justin Sourdif (10 goals, four assists).
In the peewee elite division final, the Burnaby Winter Club’s marker midway through the third period proved to be the winner, lifting the Bruins past Kamloops 2-1 for the title.  Also scoring for BWC was Trevor Wong, with his eighth of the tournament.
The Bruins advanced to the final by blanking Japan Samarai 8-0, with two goals each from Austin Fraser, Xing Jian David Wang and Wong. They closed out the round-robin portion at 2-1.
Topping peewee scorers was Japan’s Aito Iguchi with 15 goals and eight assists over six games, while teammate Yusaku Ando contributed 13 goals and nine helpers.
Kamloops’ Logan Stankhoven was the only other player to rip for double digits, scoring 10 times and setting up eight others.

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