U14 Division – HC Edmonton defeats Langley Hockey Academy 2-1 in series

HC Edmonton used the motto of ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again’ to get past a pesky Langley HA squad and lift the JPHL championship trophy. In the first two games of the series, Langley goaltender Gavin Craig turned away 116 of the 122 shots Edmonton fired at him for a .950 save percentage. Edmonton Head Coach Scott Glennie was certainly concerned with the goaltender – who won’t turn 13 until September - stealing game three and the championship from HCE, even going as far as comparing Craig’s performance to J.S. Giguere in 2003 when he won the NHL’s Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in losing to the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Final.

Two things went in HC Edmonton’s favor in game three on Sunday. Craig was human as he ‘only’ made 37 saves, and HC Edmonton scored the first goal for the first time in the series when Chase Fedoriuk tipped in a point shot to give the home side a 1-0 lead. Langley wouldn’t wilt however, and some back-and-forth play had the game tied at two heading into the final third period of the season.

HC Edmonton came out flying to start the third period, led by captain Hudson Deren’s goal 13 seconds in, followed by Ryan Quintillio giving them a 2-goal lead less than 2 minutes into the third. They would not look back, adding two more including an empty-net goal for a convincing 6-2 victory and their first JPHL championship at the U14 level.

U15 Division – HC Edmonton defeats Island HC 2-0 in series

After a wild 7-5 final in game one, the U15 division championship series returned to a tighter checking game on Saturday night, but that doesn’t mean it was any less entertaining.

HC Edmonton opened the scoring, only to see Island HC close the period with 3 goals in a 6-minute 43-second span to take a 3-1 lead into the first-period intermission. HC Edmonton led the regular season in dramatic outings and continued that in the post-season, waiting until 39 seconds remained in period two for JT Preston to cut the lead to one with 20 minutes to play.

Things remained tight in the 3rd period with Island leading by one, until HC Edmonton captain Brock McDougall took over, cutting to the slot area and beating Ethan Lorentz between the arm and shoulder to tie the game with less than six and a half minutes to play and sending the championship game to overtime. In “next goal wins” time, it was the HC Edmonton captain again rising to the challenge with a similar goal, this time to the glove side of Lorentz, and the comeback was complete for HC Edmonton as they swept the championship series in the U15 division.

U17 Division – Northstars Hockey Academy defeats Titans Hockey Union 2-0

One of the best rivalries in the JPHL played out over the weekend as members of the Titans Hockey Union and Northstars Hockey Academy found themselves facing each other for the 4th time in a championship game.

The two sides met last year in the U15 Winter Championship and League Championship finals, with the Titans winning both. This year they went head-to-head in the Winter Championship final in the U17 division and again the Titans bested the club from Williams Lake. The Northstars were not letting it happen 4 times in a row.

Despite missing their captain Asher Lucas for game one due to a suspension, the Northstars took it 6-5 in a shoot-out thanks to Daxton Endicott’s 2 goals and a helper and scoring the only goal in the showdown for a 1-0 series lead.

Game two on Saturday night was not as close and the party started early for the Northstars and their families as every player had family members make the almost 1000-kilometer trip. The Titans lack of discipline allowed the Northstars to go 3-5 on the power play and Asher Lucas scored a second-period natural hattrick in his return to the lineup as Northstars Hockey Academy finally got past their rival and would lift a trophy in the JPHL for the first time.

U18 Division – Okanagan HC defeats HC Edmonton 2-0

There is one team in the JPHL that has faced more adversity and was more battle-tested than anyone else after the last two seasons. Okanagan HC came within a goal of knocking out last year’s defending champions HC Edmonton in the B.C Division championship last year. This year their season started late due to the devastating wildfires in the Okanagan area.

But it made them stronger along the way. They bested Edmonton in the Winter Championship in December to earn home ice throughout the playoffs and needed overtime in all 3 games against Island HC in the B.C. Division championship this year. In fact over the last two seasons, Okanagan had gone to extra time, 60% of the time heading into the championship final.

So the fact that both games against Edmonton required more work didn’t faze the Warriors who play out of West Kelowna and are affiliated with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Nash Walters, in his first playoff game of the season due to a lower-body injury, put away a Keegan McCoy pass on a 2 on 1 Friday night to stake Okanagan to a 1-0 series lead.

Saturday was a game of wild comebacks. Okanagan chased starter Joseph Quintillio in building up a 4-1 lead, only to watch Edmonton do the same to OHC goaltender Mason Hillier who was replaced by Kaden Clegg after Edmonton tied things at four. 70 minutes wasn’t enough, so a shoot-out was necessary to decide the outcome and in storybook fashion, Okanagan defenceman Noah Weir, in his last hockey game, scored the only goal to allow Okanagan to celebrate on HC Edmonton’s home ice for a second time this season.

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