The NW Jr. Bellies put up a valiant battle in the BCJALL Finals, but finally fell 4 -2 to the Coquitlam Jr. Adanacs in game 6 at Queens Park Arena. The Bellies were right there in most of the games but ran into the stone wall of perennial Adanac all-star goaltender Christian Del Bianco. After what were considered two ‘ordinary’ games for him, Del Bianco cranked it up allowing only 14 total goals in the next 3 games combined. For his efforts Del Bianco was named the playoff MVP. Coquitlam now moves on to an unprecedented 10th straight Minto Cup appearance, this year hosted in Calgary Alberta.
For the Bellies, it will be a year of rebuilding as they will graduate 9 players, including: Starting goaltender Erik Kratz, Ryan Wilkinson, Carter Dickson, Carter Jensen, Tanner Poole, Sam Stevens, Charlie Kurtenbach, Dalton Lupul and Keegan Bell. There are some big shoes to fill here, but The Bellies’ Executive and Management have always reached out, rolled up their sleeves and continually fielded top flight, competitive teams – and next year will be no different.
The Bellies Defense Attempts to Wrest the Ball from a Coquitlam Forward.
Your NW Jr. Bellies play for their lives today at 5 pm at Queens Park Arena. Currently down 3 - 2 against the Jr. Adanacs, NW must bounce back to their Games 2 and 3 form to have any chance of taking this to a Game 7 in Coquitlam. Coquitlam has taken advantage of inconsistent goaltending, spotty defense and, a distinct lack of Bellie offense in last two games, to dominate the scoresheet and now have a 3-2 series lead in which they hope to wrap up today. The Bellies know, especially after their performances in games 2 and 3, that they can compete with the Adanacs. However, they have to tighten up those previously mentioned areas and start scoring some timely goals. Game time is 5:00 PM today .
The Jr. Bellies bounced back to take games 2 and 3 in Coquitlam after dropping their 1st game at NW in the BCJALL 2018 Finals. After a sub-par and disappointing performance in Game One – a 9-3 Coquitlam win – a new and energized Bellie team put on their ‘A’ game Friday and Sunday at the Coquitlam Sports Complex. Led by the solid wall of goaltender Erik Kratz, the Bellies took Game Two 6-4 and Game Three by a heart thumping 7-6 margin.
In Game Two the Bellies tightened up considerably on defense – closing the middle, not allowing any breakaways, out hustling the Adanacs on loose balls and totally out shooting them by a 53 – 39 margin. Led by Will Malcom’s 2 goals, the Fishmen also received some much-needed clutch scoring from Charlie Kurtenback, Cam Garlin, and Nathaniel Kozevnikov with single goals. Tre Leclair sealed the deal with a stellar possession, resulting in an empty net insurance goal.
Sunday night the teams engaged in a nail biter right to the end. Down 2 goals in the 3rd period, the Adanacs pulled even by the 6 minute mark. Tied 6 – 6, this one looked like overtime looming, as each team traded possessions and chances till the 17 minute mark of the period. And that’s when the Bellies’ Ryan Jones got loose for a devastating underhand shot, beating Adanacs’ goalie Christian del Bianco cleanly along the floor. The Adanacs called a last ditch time out with 17 seconds to go and the goaltender pulled, but the Bellie defense forced them into a desperation shot from the side of the net; a shot Kratz saved easily and this one went into the books for a 7-6 Bellie win.
The series continues back in Queens Park this coming Tuesday July 31st at 8:00 pm. If the Bellies continue this solid, disciplined game plan, we could very well see a berth in The Minto Cup. Come on out and get behind our Bellies Tuesday at QPA!
A Ryan Jones winner.
The NW Jr. Bellies saved the best performances against Port Coquitlam Saints for the 1st Round of the BCJALL playoffs, sweeping the Saints 3 games to 0. The Bellies will now take on their cross town rivals The Coquitlam Jr. Adanacs starting this Wednesday July 25th at Queens Park Arena staring at 8:00 pm. The series then shifts to Coquitlam's Poirier Arena for both games 2 and 3, with those games starting at 7:30 pm. Game 4 is slated for Tuesday July 31st at 8:00 at QPA, again starting at 8:00 pm. At this writing the schedule for games 5, 6 and 7 ( if necessary) are to be announced shortly.
The Bellies used a balanced attack and stellar playoff goaltending from Erik Kratz to swamp the Saints; outscoring the opposition by 24 - 11 all the while throwing a combined 150 shots at the PoCo net while only surrendering 106 in total against during the 3 game set. The Bellies are hoping to see the return of star offensive threat Tre Leclaire who missed the entire first round while representing Canada at the just concluded World Field Lacrosse Championships in Israel this past few weeks. The Bellies and Adanacs always put on a good show, with very little to differentiate between the two. Here's hoping we will be the west's representative in Alberta for Minto Cup 2018. Come on out and cheer on your Jr. Bellies this Wednesday!