The second annual Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup begins tomorrow and that gives us a chance to preview the five teams at this year’s tournament.
We will start with the BCHL champion Coquitlam Express
The Express got off to a quick start winning three of their first four games of the season.
However, after that, the team would go 6-9 and suffered their longest losing streak of the season (5 games between October 19 to November 1).
The Express finished off 2013 two games above .500 with a 19-17-0-1 record.
The team’s longest winning streak of the season took place in between January 15-24 as they won five in a row.
The Express entered the playoffs with a 28-27-2-1 record.
During the season Ryan Rosenthal led the team with 34 goals.
Adam Rockwood led the team with 61 assists and 74 points.
Gordie Defiel went 20-21-1 during the season with 3.69 GAA and 0.887 save %.
The Express entered into the playoffs as the third seed in the Mainland Division.
Prince George Spruce Kings was the first opponent for the Express.
The series went six games before the Express were able to dispose of the Spruce Kings.
In round two the Express took on the top seeded Langley Rivermen.
Once again the series went six games before the Express were able to pick up the series victory.
The third round was a three team round robin between the Express, Victoria Grizzlies and Vernon Vipers (2014 RBC cup host).
The top two teams from the round robin would advance to the finals.
The Express dropped their first game 6-1 to the Vernon Vipers.
Their next two games were against the 0-1 Victoria Grizzlies.
Coquitlam would earn a 6-3 victory in their first game.
The second game would go to triple overtime before the Express would earn a 4-3 victory over Victoria to eliminate the Grizzlies.
The final round had the Express taking on this year’s RBC cup host Vernon Vipers.
It was a series of comebacks for the Express who took out the Vipers in four straight games.
In all four games the Express had to come from behind in third period to defeat the Vipers and win the Fred Page Cup trophy.
Ryan Rosenthal led the team with 14 goals and 22 points.
Adam Rockwood lead the team in the playoffs with 16 assists.
Gordie Defiel went 14-5 in the playoffs with 1 shutout, a 2.69 GAA and 0.922 save %.
Let’s move out East and take a look at the Saskatchewan champion Yorkton Terriers
The Terriers were one of the best teams in the SJHL this year after a 2-2 start to the season. In September the team took off and would only lose six times in regulation to the end of 2013.
December was the worst month of the season for Yorkton who had their longest losing streak of the season of three games (Dec 10-14).
The Terriers were 19-8-2-3 after the 2013 part of the season.
In 2014 the Terriers continued to roll through the SJHL.
They had their longest winning streak of seven games (January 24 to February 8).
Yorkton was 17-4-1-1 and finished with the SJHL best record of the year 37-12-2-5.
Tayler Thompson led the team with 23 goals, 38 assists and 61 points.
Kale Thomson was the top goaltender for the Terriers accumulating a 31-11-3 record, 8 shutouts, a 1.89 GAA and 0.934 save %.
The Terriers rolled through the playoffs taking out the Notre Dame Hounds 4-1 in the second round.
In the SJHL semi finals the Terriers would dispatch the Humboldt Broncos 4-1.
In the finals Yorkton would sweep the Melville Millionaires to claim the Canalta Cup.
Brett Boehm led the team with 10 goals and was tied for the team lead with 16 points in the playoffs.
Tyler Giebel led the team in assists with 11 and tied for the team lead in points with 16.
Kale Thomson played in all 14 games in the playoffs, accumulating a 12-2 record with 1 shutout, a 1.74 GAA and 0.936 save %.
Manitoba will have two teams in this year’s Western Canada Cup, the host Dauphin Kings and the Winnipeg Blues
It wasn’t an easy road for the Winnipeg Blues to get to the Western Canada Cup.
The Blues went 5-8-1-1 in the first two months of the season.
The end of October and beginning of November (Oct 29 to Nov 8) was a good one for the Blues who won a season high five games.
Unfortunately for the Blues they would lose a season high four games in November.
Winnipeg finished off 2013 with a 17-16-2-2 record.
In 2014 the Blues came out with a new sense of determination going 12-8-1-0 and making it to the wild card round of the playoffs.
During the regular season Warren Callis led the team with 22 goals, 37 assists, and 59 points.
Byron Spriggs would see the most action between the pipes for the Blues.
He was 19-19 during the season with a 2.80 GAA, 0.904 save % and three shutouts.
The Blues would sweep the Winkler Flyers in the best of three first round wildcard series.
In round two the Blues would be server underdogs taking on the top ranked Selkirk Steelers.
The Blues would eliminate the Steelers in five games.
The Blues magical run would continue in the third round as they took on the Steinbach Pistons.
Once again the series would go five games before the Blues advanced to the Turnbull Cup championships.
During the championship series involved the Winnipeg Blues and the Western Canada Cup host Dauphin Kings.
The Blues and Kings both would be going to the Western Canada cup, but both teams would play for the Turnbull Cup.
The Blues defeated the Kings in five games to claim the Turnbull Cup.
Liam Bilton led the team with 8 goals and 17 points in the playoffs.
Ryan Bittner led the team with 12 assists in the post season.
Byron Spriggss would play in all 17 playoff games, accumulating a 14-3 record, 1 shutout, 1.67 GAA and 0.936 save %.
Let’s talk about the hosts for this year’s Western Canada Cup, the Dauphin Kings
For the first three months of the season the Kings were just three games above .500 with a 14-11-0-1 record.
After that the Kings took off, going 26-6-0-2 the rest of the season.
Their longest losing streak took place in November from the 5th to the 12th (five games).
The Kings longest winning streak lasted a month from January 5th to February 5th (11 games).
During the regular season Brayden Cuthbert led the team with 25 goals.
Justin Valentino had 40 assists to lead the team.
Dylan Butler was the team leader with 57 points in the regular season.
Michael Stiliadias was the top goaltender posting a 21-5 record with a 2.50 GAA and 0.907 save %.
The Kings didn’t see much resistance in the playoffs until the Turnbull Cup.
In round two the Kings swept the OCN Blizzard in four games.
Round three was also a four game sweep for the Kings, as they took out the Virden Oil Capitals.
As previously mentioned the Kings were defeated in five games sin the Turnbull Cup championships by the Winnipeg Blues.
In the playoffs Dylan Butler led the team with 7 goals and 14 points.
He was also tied for the team lead in assists with, Brent Wold and Tanner Butler, all three players had 7 assists.
Michael Stailiadias was 8-3 in the playoffs with a 2.09 GAA and a 0.909 save %.
We will finish our Western Canada Cup preview with the AJHL Gas Drive Cup Champion Spruce Grove Saints
The worst part of the Saints season happened in September when they went 4-4.
After that the Saints went on a roll going 28-2-0-1 to finish off 2013.
During that time the Saints had a 16 game winning streak that went from October 4th to November 13th.
I don’t want to say that the Saints coasted the rest of the way, but 2014 was all about who would get top spot in the AJHL, the Saints or the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.
The Saints would finish off the season going 15-4-0-2 and finished the season with a league best 48-10-0-3 record.
Dylan Hollman led the team with 27 goals during the season.
Parker Mackay led the team with 37 assists and 58 points.
Kenny Cameron spent the most time between the pipes for the Saints.
Going 34-7-3 with 3 shutouts, a 2.21 GAA and a 0.910 save %.
It was an interesting road to the Gas Drive Cup for the Saints.
After receiving a first round bye the Saints would take on the Sherwood Park Crusaders.
The Crusaders had the Saints against the wall not once but twice, holding a 2-0 and 3-2 series lead.
However, the Saints would show their resiliency to force game seven at home, where the Saints would be victorious and advance to the North Division Finals against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.
Once again the Saints were pushed to the brink of elimination.
They were trailing the Oil Barons 3-1 after the first four games of the series.
But once again the Saints fought their way back winning the next three games to beat the Oil Barons in seven games.
Spruce Grove would use the momentum from the North Final to sweep the Drumheller Dragons in the Gas Drive Cup Finals.
Jaraid Hauptman led the team with 11 goals and was tied in points with Cameron Hughes with 17 points.
Hughes would lead the team in assists with 16 in the playoffs.
Kenny Cameron was 10-4 in the post season with a 2.18 GAA and 0.913 save %.
Story by Chris Colwell