Hometown heroes bring home gold

The Coastal Shredders won thee Mainland Cup hockey tourney in Coquitlam.

THE COASTAL SHREDDERS won gold at the Mainland Cup in Coquitlam.

THE COASTAL SHREDDERS won gold at the Mainland Cup in Coquitlam.

When one thinks of spring, words such as new, fresh and re-birth are a few that come to mind. For hockey players and their families entering a new spring season, the changing of the season also offers new friendships, lots of challenges and hope.  The new Coastal Shredders AA spring hockey team coached by Greg Fox and sponsored by Schnitzer Steel possesses a “team first” philosophy composed of a strong group of players born in 2001 from Courtenay, Campbell River, Powell River, Parksville and Gold River. Their season commenced at the end of March with vigorous, high-tempo practices, fitness training and an exhibition game in preparation for their first spring tournament.

Four Courtenay boys and a fifth from Parksville took part in the popular Mainland Cup last weekend at Coquitlam’s Planet Ice.  Forwards Gabe Schovanek and Logan Nijhoff, defencemen Jackson Dyke and Garrett Hunter, and goaltender Mattihas Smith played four round-robin games in an effort to make it to the gold medal game.

During game one, the duo of Dyke and Hunter played strong games on defence by moving the puck out of their zone. Schovanek scored once and added four assists to also help navigate the Shredders to their first win against the Pacific Knights by a score of 8-1.

Schovanek continued his torrid pace during game two of round-robin play, potting another goal to go along with two more assists to help lead the Shredders to a 6-0 victory against the Seattle Spitfires. Goaltender Smith played an outstanding game, stopping all shots he faced for the shutout.

With the Shredders falling 3-2 in game three to a strong Pacific Alliance squad, the Shredders needed to win game four against the Legends in order to propel them to the finals. The Shredders would not be denied.

Hunter and Dyke continued to be recognized for their chemistry as a strong defensive pair, and Nijhoff helped lead an offensive charge with a stellar two-goal and two-assist performance in a convincing 11-2 victory that sent the Shredders to the gold medal game against the same Alliance team that beat them earlier during round robin play. Smith earned his second victory in as many games and his two goals allowed gave him a meagre 1.00 GAA after two games.

The final was a see-saw battle that was tied 2-2 after two periods. Schovanek assisted on a Jalen Price goal midway through the final period to give the Shredders their first lead, and then Nijhoff sealed the deal with a power-play goal late in the third.

Coach Fox couldn’t have been more pleased with how the team came together so swiftly and played so hard for one another.

“We have asked a lot from these boys at practice, and this weekend their hard work paid off.  They played for their team rather than for themselves, and for that I am proud of them.”

Fox, assistant coaches Dave McMurdo, Chris and Brayden McCartney, goalie coach Nathan Hoff, and all of the players and parents of the Coastal Shredders team thank their primary sponsor Schnitzer Steel as well as Headquarters Hair Inc., Hunter Overhead Doors and Campbell River Marine Terminal for their generous support.

– Coastal Shredders