It has been a season of firsts for the Langley Trappers.
After winning the Stonehouse Cup PJHL playoffs for the first time in franchise history, by defeating the White Rock Whalers in five games, and after finishing the regular season at 68 points to take the Harold Brittain Conference division – another first – the Langley team’s next challenge was the Cyclone Taylor Cup provincial junior “B” hockey championships.
On Sunday, April 10, the Trappers won gold, and the Cup, beating the Delta Ice Hawks 4-2 at the Ladner Leisure Centre.
Trappers head coach and general manager Brad Bakken praised his players.
“They wanted it and they got it,” Bakken told the Langley Advance Times.
“The whole team was unreal.”
Bakken made a strategic decision during the tournament to keep some key players off the ice for their previous game against the Ice Hawks, a round-robin match on Saturday that would have no effect on the final outcome of the tournament.
Delta won 5-2.
It was a “bit of a chess match,” Bakken commented, but it paid off in the final, also against Delta.
“That allowed us to have seven of our regular guys out of the lineup, to give them a night off.”
That may have made all the difference on Sunday.
The game was was tied 2-2 going into the third.
Jacob Astles had opened the scoring for Langley late in the first, with an assist by Nicholas Cormack and Austin Moar
Delta replied with two goals from twins Conner and Carson Merriman in the second, before Cody Bathgate tied the game for Langley off an assist from Brock Mierzejewski and Ryan Tong.
At 9:30 of the third period, Benjamin Weys’ goal broke the tie with Austin Moar and Jacob Astles assisting.
Jamie Hylands scored the insurance marker at 18:18 into an empty net, with an assist from Kyle Graham giving the Trappers the cup.
What a feeling. PJHL and Cyclone Taylor Cup Champions!! pic.twitter.com/EADzy52tRh— Langley Trappers (@LangleyTrappers) April 11, 2022
Astles was named first star of the game, Conner Merriman was second.
Revelstoke Grizzlies finished third.
“I give a lot of credit to the coaches from last year, for keeping them [the players] interested during COVID.”
In March of last year, the PJHL cancelled the rest of its season due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Trappers had already opted out of the season in advance of the league-wide announcement, stating back in mid-February that the team would not return for the rest of the season.
“It been a wild ride, to be sure,” Bakken remarked.
“It’s been a lot of fun.”
Next year could be fun, too, with many of his top players set to return.
Bakken expects 10 to 14 will be coming back next season,
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