Calgary, AB – Team Manitoba edged Team BC by a 4-2 score in the semi-final of the 2015 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup on Saturday to advance to the gold medal game against Team Alberta on Sunday.
Team Manitoba goaltender and Tri-City Americans prospect Matthew Thiessen was named his team’s player of the game while Spokane Chiefs draftee Cedric Chenier’s two-goal effort helped seal the win. Seth Bafaro, another Americans prospect, was named Team BC’s player of the game in the loss.
The gold medal game will be held at the Markin MacPhail Centre (WinSport) in Calgary at 1:30 p.m. MT on Sunday. Earlier, Team Saskatchewan will face Team BC for bronze at 9:30 a.m. MT. Tickets for both games will be available at the arena ticket office. The game will also be available online at www.whllive.com.
The 2015 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup All-Star Team will also be announced prior to the gold medal game.
Team Alberta will be in search of its third gold medal at the event on Sunday while Team Manitoba will make its third trip to the final in search of its first title.
Team Alberta features a talented roster that includes Ty Smith, the first overall selection in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft. Meanwhile, Team Manitoba will be led into the final by Moose Jaw Warriors prospect, and the fourth overall pick from last May’s draft, Jett Woo.
Swift Current Broncos draftee Riley Stotts leads Team Manitoba in scoring with four points (1g-3a) through four games while Eric Florchuk (2g-2a) and Elijah Brown (0g-4a) have paced Team Alberta with four points apiece.
Semi-Final Game Summary
Team Manitoba (4) vs. Team British Columbia (2)
The first period was a back-and-forth affair as each team exchanged unsuccessful power play opportunities. After Team BC struck iron twice in the frame, Stotts earned the first golden chance for Team Manitoba when he broke in alone, but Donovan Buskey turned his shot aside. Vancouver Giants first-rounder Tyler Popowich finally broke the deadlock for Team BC with just 23.8 seconds left in the frame when he tapped home a centering pass from Moose Jaw Warriors prospect Luka Burzan.
Team Manitoba found its groove in the second frame. Just 3:56 in, Stotts found Chenier who beat Buskey with a wrist shot beneath the blocker to even the score. Later, Kootenay ICE draftee Michael King provided a great individual effort when drove wide and placed a backhanded shot high short side to give Team Manitoba a 2-1 edge at the 16:08 mark. Just one minute later, it was Stotts to Chenier again to give Manitoba a 3-1 edge that held after 40 minutes.
Team BC pressed for the equalizer in the third period, but Manitoba clamped down defensively. Ryan Chyzowski made it a one-goal game for Team BC with just 1:50 left in regulation, but a pretty passing play finished off by Brandon Wheat Kings prospect Caiden Daly 55 seconds later sealed the win for Team Manitoba.
Team BC – 31
Team Manitoba – 29
Team BC – 0/3
Team Manitoba – 1/4