WESTERN CANADA U-16 CHALLENGE CUP RECAP
 

Calgary, AB – The 2012 Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup is now in the books.  Team BC stormed its way to the Gold medal, downing Team Alberta 9-3 in the Championship game to end Alberta’s streak as the only Gold medalists in the event’s previous two editions.

The four-day tournament shone a spotlight on many of the best and brightest hockey talents in Western Canada, and gave fans a glimpse at many players who will become household names in the WHL over the next few years.

Here’s a look back at the 2012 Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup.

DAY 1; Thursday, November 1
Game 1: Team Saskatchewan 6 – Team Manitoba 3
Calgary, AB – Team Saskatchewan defeated Team Manitoba 6-3 in the opening game of the 2012 Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup on Thursday afternoon.  Swift Current Broncos prospect Wyatt Sloboshan scored a shorthanded goal and set up two more and Seattle Thunderbirds prospect Ethan Bear scored twice while Regina Pats prospect Rykr Cole added a goal and an assist for Saskatchewan.  Colt Conrad, a third-round pick of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft, tallied a goal and two assists for Manitoba, who gave up a 3-1 lead en route to the loss.  Sloboshan earned Player of the Game for Saskatchewan while Conrad earned the nod for Manitoba.

Game 2: Team BC 4 – Team Alberta 3  S/O
Calgary, AB – Team BC edged Team Alberta 4-3 in a shootout in Game 2 of the Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup on Thursday night at Father David Bauer arena in Calgary, AB.  Prince George Cougars prospect Jansen Harkins scored the shootout winner for Team BC while 2012 first overall Bantam Draft pick Matthew Barzal scored twice as BC erased a 3-0 deficit in the third period to post the victory.  Braylon Shmyr, a Brandon Wheat Kings prospect, scored a pair of goals for Team Alberta while Alberta netminder Zach Sawchenko, a Moose Jaw Warriors prospect,  stopped 40 of 43 shots through regulation play.  Barzal was named Player of the Game for BC and Shmyr was dubbed Alberta’s Player of the Game.

 

DAY 2; Friday, November 2
Game 3: Team BC 4 – Team Saskatchewan 1
Calgary, AB – Team BC improved to 2-0 in round-robin play at the 2012 Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup with a 4-1 victory over Team Saskatchewan on Friday afternoon.  Swift Current Broncos prospect Glenn Gawdin scored a pair of goals and Seattle Thunderbirds’ 2012 Bantam Draft pick Matthew Barzal drew two assists to lead BC to the win.  Ethan Bear scored his third goal of the tournament for Team Saskatchewan, who fall to 1-1 in round-robin play, while goaltender Matt Kustra, a Prince George Cougars prospect, stopped 41 of 45 shots.  Gawdin was named Player of the Game for Team BC while Kustra took the honors for Team Saskatchewan.

Game 4: Team Alberta 8 – Team Manitoba 1
Calgary, AB – Team Alberta skated to an 8-1 victory over Team Manitoba in Game 4 of the 2012 Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup on Friday afternoon.  Kelowna Rockets’ prospect Nick Merkley and Brandon Wheat Kings prospect Braylon Shmyr each tallied a goal and three assists for Alberta, which improves to 1-1 in round-robin play, while Edmonton Oil Kings first-round Bantam Draft pick Patrick Dea stopped 20 of 21 shots to post the win.  Meyer Nell, a Red Deer Rebels prospect, scored the only goal for Manitoba, which drops to 0-2 through their first two round robin games.  Merkley took home Player of the Game honors for Team Alberta while Regina Pats prospect Rylee Zimmer earned the honor for Manitoba.  Alberta’s victory over Manitoba sends Team BC to Sunday’s Gold medal game while leaving Manitoba to play for Bronze.


DAY 3; Saturday, November 3
Game 5: Team Alberta 3 – Team Saskatchewan 0
Calgary, AB – Team Alberta posted a 3-0 shutout win over Team Saskatchewan in Game 5 of the 2012 Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup on Saturday afternoon.  The win sends Alberta (2-1) through to Sunday’s Gold medal game where they will face Team BC (2-0).  Zach Sawchenko turned in a 33-save performance to earn the shutout while Kootenay Ice prospect Hudson Elynuik, Red Deer Rebels prospect Grayson Pawlenchuk and Prince Albert Raiders prospect Dylan Stewart scored for Alberta.  Prince George Cougars prospect Matt Kustra turned aside 19 of 22 shots he faced in the loss for Saskatchewan (1-2), who will play Team Manitoba (0-2) for the Bronze medal on Sunday morning.  Sawchenko, a Moose Jaw Warriors prospect, was the Player of the Game for Team Alberta and Seattle Thunderbirds prospect Lane Pederson got the nod for Team Saskatchewan.

Game 6: Team BC 5 – Team Manitoba 2
Calgary, AB – Team BC skated to a 5-2 victory over Team Manitoba in final round-robin game of the 2012 Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup on Saturday evening.  With the win, BC improves to 3-0 through round-robin play, giving them home-ice advantage in Sunday’s Gold medal match-up versus Team Alberta.  Vancouver Giants prospect Jakob Stukel scored twice and added an assist while Prince George prospect Jansen Harkins, Victoria Royals’ first-round Bantam Draft pickTyler Soy and Kamloops Blazers prospect Nick Chyzowski each finished with a goal and an assist for Team BC.  Swift Current Broncos prospect Jackson Keane scored for Team Manitoba, who finish with an 0-3 record in round-robin play and will face Team Saskatchewan in the Bronze medal game on Sunday morning.  Markus Daly, a fifth-round pick of the Victoria Royals, stopped 21 of 23 shots for BC in the victory.  Stukel took Player of the Game honors for BC while Keane earned the honor for Manitoba.



DAY 4; Sunday, November 4
Game 7 BRONZE MEDAL: Team Saskatchewan 2 – Team Manitoba 1
Calgary, AB – Team Saskatchewan claimed the Bronze medal at the 2012 Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup after defeating Team Manitoba 2-1 in the third-place contest on Sunday morning.  Defenceman Shane Collins, a Prince George Cougars prospect, broke a 0-0 stalemate with just over five minutes to play in the third period while Victoria Royals’ second-round 2012 Bantam Draft pick Reagan Nagy scored into an empty net with less than two minutes remaining.  Red Deer Rebels’ prospect Meyer Nell got Manitoba on the board just 16 seconds after Nagy’s goal, but that’s as close as Manitoba would get as they finish fourth in the tournament.  Netminder Logan Flodell, a Seattle Thunderbirds prospect, turned in a solid 29-save performance to post the victory while Everett Silvertips’ listed goalie Mario Petit stopped 35 of 36 shots he faced in a valiant effort for Manitoba.  Flodell and Petit earned Player of the Game honors for their respective clubs.


Game 8 GOLD MEDAL: Team BC 9 – Team Alberta 3


Calgary, AB – Team BC struck Gold at the 2012 Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup with a convincing 9-3 victory over Team Alberta in the championship game on Sunday afternoon.

Jansen Harkins racked up four goals, including a hat trick in the first period, and an assist for a five-point effort to pace BC to the victory over the two-time defending champion Alberta side. 

“Our whole team played well through the whole tournament, and I finally got my share of putting it in today,” said Harkins, a product of North Vancouver who plays for the Vancouver NW Giants of the BC Major Midget League.  “I’m happy to have been able to do this for my team.”

Matthew Barzal, the first overall pick from the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft, scored once and set up three more and Prince George Cougars prospect Brad Morrison scored two goals and three points while Swift Current Broncos prospect scored once and chipped in two assists for Team BC.

Medicine Hat Tigers prospects Brad Forrest and Jordan Xavier scored while Brandon Wheat Kings prospect Braylon Shmyr netted his fourth of the tournament for Team Alberta, who couldn’t find a way to slow down BC’s collection of offensive stars.

Taz Burman turned in a 33-save effort in goal for Team BC, who led 5-3 after an exciting opening period then added three more in the second period and one more in the third to capture the Gold medal.  Patrick Dea stopped eight of 12 shots he faced in the Alberta net before giving way to Zach Sawchenko at the 14:30 mark of the first period.  Sawchenko made 24 saves on 29 shots the rest of the way.

Harkins earned Player of the Game honors for Team BC while Grayson Pawlenchuk, a fourth-round pick of the Red Deer Rebels, was the Player of the Game for Team Alberta.

 

2012 WESTERN CANADA U-16 CHALLENGE CUP ALL-STAR TEAM
position – Name, Team, Hometown; WHL Club

Goaltender – Zachary Sawchenko, Team Alberta, Calgary, AB; Moose Jaw Warriors (2nd rd)
Defence – Chaz Reddekopp, Team BC, West Kelowna, BC; Victoria Royals (1st rd)
Defence – Ethan Bear, Team Saskatchewan, Ochapowace, SK; Seattle Thunderbirds (2nd rd)
Forward – Braylon Shmyr, Team Alberta, Calgary, AB; Brandon Wheat Kings (1st rd)
Forward – Nick Merkley, Team Alberta, Calgary, AB; Kelowna Rockets (1st rd)
Forward – Matthew Barzal, Team BC, Coquitlam, BC; Seattle Thunderbirds (1st rd)

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