Lazar, Thibault earn B.C. Cup hockey gold

Team Stars won the 2011 Male Under 17 Hockey B.C. Cup with a 6-2 win over Team Flyers Sunday at the Sunwave Centre in Salmon Arm.

Vernon’s Curtis Lazar scored twice for the Flyers, while Demico Hannoun, Jared Marchi, Paulsen Lautard and Jordan Klimek supplied singles. The Flyers got goals from Dryden Hunt and Vernon’s Mike Roberts.

Vernon’s Colton Thibualt was also on the Flyers’ roster.

The B.C. Cup is the second of four stages in securing a spot on Team Pacific – players from B.C. and Alberta – who will play at the World U17 Challenge against Canadian teams West, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic as well as national teams from the U.S., Slovakia, Russia, Czech Republic and Finland.

There were 120 hockey players camped out at the Sunwave Centre where players lived and breathed hockey. No distractions – even cellphones were off limits.

“It feels good,” said Lazar, of making it to this stage. “Every step gets you closer to wearing that Pacific jersey. Just looking at it gives me goosebumps because I want to represent B.C.”

Lazar says it was essential for his team to bond as most players are strangers.

“It’s definitely tough, but it’s the way to success. Relationships between player to player are key,” he says, noting the Stars were together 24-7 during the event.

For Lazar, this stage is exciting because it joins players from across B.C. On his team alone, there were players from Smithers, Vancouver Island and the Kootenays.

“It’s neat because we share all the same goals,” he said, adding that this makes standing out on the ice all the more difficult.

“It’s tough,” added the OHA forward. “You just have to go out there and play your game because everyone is here for the same reason.”

Lazar, property of the WHL Edmonton Oil Kings, will wait two weeks before he knows whether he’s made the cut of 46 invited to the Regional Cup, where players from B.C. and Alberta will meet in Calgary, July 24-27.

Goalie Jesse Jenks turned in a stellar game to give Team Canucks a 3-0 win over Team Sabres in the third-place game. Riley Hunt scored a pair of goals for the Canucks and Craig Martin had one.

The Okanagan 97s, coached by Peter Doyle and Keith Chase, went 3-2 in the Pursuit of Excellence Spring Cup Challenge last weekend.

The 97s smothered the Calgary Cowboys 7-0 in crossover playoff action and then clipped the Alberta Jets 3-2 in overtime for fifth place. Brady Reagan of the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton scored the winner.

The Okanagan crew finished third in their pool after defeating the Jets 5-2, losing 5-2 to the NAA Rebels and falling 9-3 to the eventual champion Vancouver Giants. Forwards Jeff Bochon, Carsen Richards, Blaine Caton and Hayden Chase, all of Vernon, played for the 97s.

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