Both of the top pee wee teams in Ridge Meadows Minor Lacrosse won gold medals as the Burrards hosted the provincial championships over the weekend.
The Burrards A1 team beat the Coquitlam Adanacs 7-4, and the A2 team tamed the Mission Sasquatch 15-7 in their championship games on Sunday afternoon.
The A1 goaltender Brayden Wandler was chosen as the player of the game for the championship, and he allowed only three goals through the semi-final and championship game.
“It was a team effort, but when he had to make a save on breakaways or a two-on-one, he made them,” said coach Daren Fridge.
Joel McCormick was chosen for the A1 Warrior Sports Canada MVP award, after leading his team offensively throughout the tournament.
“He’s got the slickest hands for his age – amazing hand speed and stick skills,” said Fridge.
The pee wee A1 team had gone an incredible 36-1-1 on the season, and Coquitlam was a team that had tied them.
But they took over the final, up 6-2 after two periods, before a crowd of over 300 at Cam Neely Arena.
The Adanacs got a little life when the Burrards got in penalty trouble and gave up a shorthanded goal that made it 6-3 with five minutes left in the game.
But Jaxon Smart answered back 14 seconds later, with a great fake and a shot under the bar for his second goal of the game.
Conner Bouma, Andrew Thompson, Dylan Tory and Jaxon Fridge each had a goal and an assist in the championship game, and Hunter Meyer also scored.
Fridge said the team had impressive depth, allowing he and head coach Curt Malawsky to keep everyone in the game.
“They really like each other and came together as a team,” said Fridge. “The motto was family, and if someone got knocked down his teammates would step up for him like a brother.”
The team enjoyed a highly credentialed coaching staff. Malawsky is a pro – the head coach of the NLL’s Calgary Roughnecks, and Fridge is a seasoned coach who is the general manager and former coach of the WLA Burrards.
Those two are also coaching Team B.C., and they are taking six Ridge players – Wandler, McCormick, Meyer, Fridge, Thompson and Chase Miller – with the B.C. selects to the nationals in Ontario on Aug. 2-9.
The pee wee A2 team finished first in league play, but weren’t a runaway favourite to win the provincial tournament. They faced a tough Cowichan team in the provincial semi-finals, that had earlier beaten Ridge 13-5 in the semi-final of the Semiahmoo tournament.
“That loss showed us where we needed to be,” said coach Marc Downey.
This time, the Burrards beat Cowichan 10-9 in double overtime, with A.J. Steinmann burying the winner.
That wasn’t the end of their worries. In the final, they had to beat a Mission team they had lost to 14-6 during the round-robin portion of the tournament.
“The kids came to play. They saved their best two games for the last two games.”
Sam Paterson was named the MVP of the final, and Owen Robertson was named to the all-star team.
Downey said the team showed amazing work ethic and camaraderie.
“It’s the most enjoyable coaching season I’ve ever had,” said the 20-year bench boss. “Our association is fantastic. We put on a great provincials, from what I saw of it.”
Tenzin Nyman and Brayden Grant of the B team and Steve Nease of the C team were recipients of Warrior Fair Play Awards. Nyman and Brandon Landreville were both named B all-stars. Jock Thomson was a C all-star.
At the female championships in Coquitlam two Ridge teams met in the midget gold medal game, and Team 1 scored in the last two minutes to win 3-2.
The pee wees beat the Burnaby Lakers 5-3 in the gold medal game, and the junior women took silver.
Fair play awards were won by junior Sierra Leforge, midgets Paige Bell and Adrianne Guimond, pee wee Sarah Meaden and junior coach Wes Eaton.
The provincial all-stars included junior Ashley Bull, midgets Paige Bell (Team 1) and Kaila Barteski (Team 2)and pee wee Leona Sinclair.