Five Lanlgey ball hockey players — Josh Boelema (left to right)

BC Thunder dominate at U17 nationals, capture gold medal

Ball hockey team featured five players, two coaches from Langley

With two silver and a bronze medal over the past couple of seasons, the BC Thunder had their sights set on finishing the job this time around.

And it was mission accomplished.

The U17 ball hockey team finished the job in impressive fashion.

Competing at the junior national ball hockey championships in Edmonton from July 28 to 31, the Thunder throttled the competition, going a perfect 5-0 while allowing just one goal the entire championships.

“It feels pretty good to win,” admitted Thunder captain Trevor Punia, one of five Langley players on the team.

The five are from the Valley Ball Hockey Association with the rest of the players from other ball hockey associations around the province.

“We just had a really strong team this year, a lot of talent, and we had a special bond.”

The core of the team has played together the past couple of years and in that time, they have won a pair of silver medals and a bronze .

“Losing in the finals twice kind of sucked,” Punia said.

In the gold medal game, the squad defeated the host Edmonton Xtreme 2-0.

The win was extra special as the Xtreme had beat the Thunder for gold two years ago at the U15 level. The Thunder did win the rematch last year in the bronze medal game.

The Thunder outscored their foes 24-1 over the five games.

After a perfect round-robin, they scored a decisive 7-0 win over the Alberta Crude in the semifinals.

Punia was named the tournament’s top defenceman and while he said the award was a nice accolade, the gold medal was what he was really after.

Other local players on the squad included Josh Boelema, Caleb Boelema, Ryan Barthelson and Braeden Deslauriers.

Caleb Boelema had two goals and an assist in the three pool games and then added another three goals and on assist in the two playoff games. Josh Boelema finished with a goal and three helpers in the final two games after scoring once in pool play.

Barthelson had two goals in pool play and three points overall while Deslauriers and Punia each had an assist.

Langley’s Shawn Peters was the team’s head coach and Kerns Punia was the assistant coach.

Team BC’s U15 and U19 squads both returned home with the silver medals in their respective divisions.

The West Coast Wolverines lost 2-0 to the Edmonton Xtreme in the U15 final while the Manitoba Pioneers edged the West coast Express 2-1 in the U19 division.