Calgary, AB – Team Alberta built a two-goal first period lead and withstood the Team Manitoba attack the rest of the way to earn the gold medal at the 2015 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup on Sunday in Calgary.
Team Alberta goaltender and Seattle Thunderbirds prospect Carl Stankowski was named his team’s player of the game in the tournament final as he turned aside all 27 shots he faced. Regina Pats draftee Dawson Barteaux was named the player of the game for Team Manitoba.
Sean Comrie (8:28) and Ryley Appelt (9:45) provided the first period goals for Team Alberta while Eric Florchuk sealed the victory with an empty-netter late.
Team Manitoba outshot Alberta 22-18 in the final two frames, but the Albertans held a 32-27 edge in total. Manitoba went 0-for-6 on the power play while Alberta went 0-for-4.
Earlier on Sunday, Team BC defeated Team Saskatchewan 7-2 to claim the bronze medal on the back of two-goal efforts from Keltie Jeri-Leon and Brendan Budy.
2015 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup All-Star Team
G – Matthew Thiessen (Team Manitoba) – Altona, MB – Tri-City Americans
D – Ty Smith (Team Alberta) – Lloydminster, AB – Spokane Chiefs
D – Jett Woo (Team Manitoba) – Winnipeg, MB – Moose Jaw Warriors
F – Carson Focht (Team Saskatchewan) – Regina, SK – Tri-City Americans
F – Eric Florchuk (Team Alberta) – Ft. Saskatchewan, AB – Victoria Royals
F – Eli Zummack (Team BC) – Kelowna, BC – Red Deer Rebels
The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup features the highest-rated players in the under-16 age category from the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The tournament is a four-team round robin format and is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence for players. Additionally, the event assists the four provincial hockey associations in evaluating top prospects for future high performance programs.
The majority of players participating in the event were selected in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft or have since been listed by WHL Clubs. The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup has been sponsored since 2009 by the WHL and has been made possible through financial support provided by the WHL, Hockey Manitoba, BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta, Saskatchewan Hockey Association and Hockey Canada.
This year marked the fifth year of the event. The first ever Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup was held in Blackfalds, Alberta in 2009 and featured four of the top eight players selected in the 2012 NHL Draft. In 2010, the Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup was not contested due to the Canada Winter Games. In 2011, the Moose Jaw Warriors and Saskatchewan Hockey Association hosted the event at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. In 2012, the tournament was hosted in Calgary at Father David Bauer Arena, the home of the WHL. In 2013, the tournament was again hosted in Calgary at Father David Bauer Arena. In 2014, the Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup was not contested due to the Canada Winter Games. Team Alberta is a four-time champion of the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup, also capturing the title in 2009, 2011 and 2013, while Team BC won the event in 2012.