Jr. Ducks’ Bantams enjoy success in Canada
Several talented hockey teams from California have played in the U14 CAN/AM Showcase at Burnaby, British Columbia, over the years, but none won the elite tournament … until the Anaheim Jr. Ducks’ Bantam AAA team accomplished the feat on Sept. 14.
The Jr. Ducks defeated Okanagan Hockey Academy, 5-4, in the first-place game to avenge their only round-robin loss and become the first U.S. team to capture the title.
“We thought we could compete, but we didn’t think we’d do this well,” assistant coach Ren Texeira said. “You’re talking about beating some of the top hockey clubs in British Columbia.
“We told the boys, ‘You have an opportunity to put yourself on the map,’ and they did.”
The Jr. Ducks opened with victories over co-host NSWC Winterhawks and Pursuit of Excellent before tying co-host Burnaby Winter Club, but that was enough to edge the Colorado Thunderbirds for the top spot in the U.S. division.
In the final, the Jr. Ducks seized a 4-1 lead on two goals by Andrew DeCarlo and strikes from Tae Lee and Nick Rashkovsky before OHA tied it. Slava Demin tallied the winner midway through the third period.
“We have a lot of depth and a good-sized team,” said Texeira, who along with Patrick Angeles assisted head coach Sandy Gasseau. “All of our lines can contribute, and at this level you’ve got to be well-balanced.
“The team finished strong last season, and that helped us put the right team together this season. We have two very competitive goalies, which you need for a long season.”
Defenseman Ryan Fischer was selected the tournament’s MVP.
“Ryan played well and that’s a great honor, but it’s hard to pick one player as most valuable because the whole team really played well,” Texeira said.
Other team members include: Jamie Cates, Jordan Eisenmann, Tanner Ensign, Jonah Gold, Logan Harris, Joey Holman, Jacob Iida, Noah Lee, Thomas Leet, Kaden Moravek, Blake Reed, Houston Reichel and Nick Rittenhouse.
– Chris Bayee