Séminaire St-François Blizzard 5 - Vancouver NW Giants 1
BLIZZARD USE HUGE FIRST PERIOD TO WIN BRONZE
by Kelsie Fraser
Emotions were running high as both the Vancouver North West Giants and the Séminaire Saint-François Blizzard took to the ice at Enmax Centrium on Sunday morning for the bronze medal game at the 2007 TELUS Cup.
Both teams were disappointed following semi-final losses on Saturday but came out with passion, hoping to take home a medal.
Dave Labrecque and Maxime Gravel got the Blizzard on the board early, scoring less than five minutes into the first period for a 2-0 lead for the Quebec champions.
That spelled the end for Giants’ goaltender Kyle Nielsen, who was replaced by Graeme Gordon. Gordon had been pulled from Saturday night’s semi-final against Red Deer after allowing two goals in 40 seconds to turn a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 deficit.
The goaltending change didn’t seem to help the Giants, as David Savard’s point shot found its way over the shoulder of Gordon, giving the Blizzard a 3-0 lead.
Jonathan Hazen added his third point of the period with less than two minutes left in the opening frame, sending Saint-François to the dressing room with a four-goal lead.
Vancouver captain Matthew Bell got his team on the board early in the second period, giving the Pacific representatives life, but that would be the only puck Adrien Lemay would allow behind him.
Labrecque’s second of the game, after a giveaway by Gordon, provided the final margin as the Blizzard won their 12th medal (three gold, five silver, four bronze) in their 13th appearance.
“It’s not the medal we were hoping for, but to be third in Canada is still a great accomplishment and a
great feeling and I’m really proud of the boys,” Blizzard head coach Serge Beausoleil said following the
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PREVIEW: BLIZZARD, GIANTS MEET FOR BRONZE
It wasn’t the game either team wanted to play, but neither team will want to go home empty-handed, so expect a fantastic game on Sunday morning when the Séminaire Saint-François Blizzard and Vancouver North West Giants meet for the bronze medal at the Enmax Centrium in Red Deer, AB.
Both teams put up strong fights in their respective semi-final losses, down by just a goal into the final minute. But it will be third place they play for, not the big prize on Sunday afternoon. Vancouver got the best of the Quebec champions in their round robin meeting, winning 4-1, and is looking for much of the same in Sunday’s medal showdown.
The Blizzard failed to find consistency through the week, and have dropped their last three games, including Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Prince Albert in their semi-final. Their top three scorers – Dave Labrecque, Maxime Gravel and David Moisan – have combined for six points in six games, five of those points belonging to Gravel. Labrecque, who led the Blizzard in scoring in the regular season and playoffs, has yet to record a point at the TELUS Cup.
The Giants have surprised many with their strong performance in Red Deer, but they are not happy with just a good impression. They have their sights set on leaving the Enmax Centrium with a bronze medal. Vancouver has allowed the third-fewest goals against in the tournament (13) – behind only gold medal game teams Red Deer (6) and Prince Albert (7) – and will look to shutdown the Blizzard much the way they did in their preliminary round game.
In 16 of the last 17 National Midget Championships, the Quebec Region champion has taken home a medal. Only three times in 28 years has a British Columbia team taken home a medal. Could this be a new start for Midget hockey in B.C.? Or will Quebec continue to be one of the leaders of Midget hockey in Canada? Sunday’s bronze medal game will be just one piece of a much bigger puzzle.