U18 T1 Team

VIAHA Tier 1 Division Playoffs – Best of Three Series

With a trip to the U18 Tier 1 BC Hockey Provincial Championships on the line, the VMHA Admirals faced off against the Comox Strathcona Bears in a three-game set to determine who would represent Vancouver Island in Nanaimo March 17-23, 2024.

Game 1, Feb. 24, 2024 (Home):
The top teams faced off at Pearkes Green in a well-attended afternoon battle royale. The first 20 minutes were tight as both teams tested each other’s netminders with a flurry of shots – it wasn’t until Admirals’ #7 Rowan Brodie-Rafuse ripped a shot past the Comox netminder low glove-side on a well-deserved penalty shot that got the VMHA team up on the board. The Admirals and Bears traded goals back and forth over the second period with tallies at 17:03 from #5 Jackson Buie (assisted by Alejandro Snead and Brodie-Rafuse) and Quinn Cramb at 11:35 (assists from #16 Jack Hall and #15 Ollie Pemberton) to close out the period at 3-2 for the home team. VMHA goaltender James Hall was masterful in and around his net – with astonishing save after astonishing save. Hall showed his hockey prowess along with a fearless down-low game, combined when needed with acrobatic saves and batting pucks out of harm’s way as well as any MLB batter would have fared staring down pitches at home plate.

The third period saw #9 (Cramb) score goal number four (with 7:09 to go) for the VHHA squad – assisted by linemates Hall and Pemberton. Not long after Cramb, skating at full speed, was hauled down by two Bears’ players mere feet from the Bears’ now empty net – resulting in a penalty shot – despite the puck ending up deep in the empty Comox net. Cramb missed the ensuing penalty shot but at 2:37 Ollie Pemberton bulled his way over the Admiral’s blue line and shoveled the puck ahead to Cramb – a determined Cramb set off at full tilt towards the empty Comox net fighting off the Bears’ players through the neutral zone and across their blueline – where he sniped the puck between the pipes to record another hat-trick in this amazing season. Final: Admirals 5-Bears 2.

Game 2, Feb. 25, 2024 (Away):
A travel weary Admirals player and parent group made their way up to Comox in the pre-dawn hours on February 25 for a “winner take all or force game three” scenario. Seven seconds in, the better-rested Strathcona Bears sent in a blistering rising shot that beat Admirals goalie Everett Wilke up high sending the Bears’ bench and home team crowd into a frenzy. Wilke calmly settled back in, stood his ground and the VMHA team fought back hard shift after shift until at 15:05 alternate captain Ollie Pemberton took D-man Harrison Hurst’s outlet pass deep and roofed the puck over the Comox goaltender to make for a 1-1 tie. The tie didn’t last long as the Bears continued to press the Admirals defensive core and test Wilke – resulting in a 3-1 Comox lead to close out the first period.

Following an Admirals goalie change – the Bear’s managed to get a quick shot past netminder James Hall to increase their lead early in the second period to a seemingly insurmountable 4-1. The Admirals never lost focus and through grit and sheer skill on the part of linemates Quinn Cramb, Ollie Pemberton and Jordan Hansoski – Cramb managed to pot the Admirals second goal to bring them within 2. Less than two-minutes later hard-hitting #8 Brady Hewitt-Wilcox took an outlet pass from Admirals team Captain Eric Murphy and slipped it over to Pemberton who with 1:02 left in the period brought the Victoria team to within 1 of the Bears.

Fifteen determined VMHA players hit the ice for the start of the third period and simply took it offensively and defensively to the Comox squad – Hewitt-Wilcox blasted a low shot at the Bears' netminder, who kicked out a rebound that Jordan Hanoski was able to pounce on and the VMHA forward lifted the puck at a near impossible angle up and into the top-left corner of the Bears’ net to tie the game – resulting in  pandemonium on the visitor’s side of the Comox Valley Ice Centre. Regulation time came to an end with the Admirals and Bears locked in a 4-4 tie – to be settled by sudden death overtime.

Both teams played things tightly during the opening minutes of the 10-minute OT period – but the Admirals’ defensive forces, combined with the speed and relentless forecheck of their forward lines shifted game play largely in Victoria’s favour. In an unbelievable feat of athleticism and sheer doggedness, forward Ollie Pemberton forced the puck-carrying Comox player to turn the puck over inside the defensive blueline – and with the other Bears’ players scrambling – slid the puck to #9 Cramb darting in towards the net – the Admirals’ forward cut across the top of the blue paint and snuck the puck 5-hole through the Comox goaltender’s pads to cap of a four unanswered goal run and leading the Admirals to a 5-4 OT win!

Watch the post-game celebration: IMG_6773

Next up: March 17-23, 2024, BC Hockey U18 Tier 1 Provincials in Nanaimo.

February 1-11, 2024
VIAHA Tier 1 Division Play-offs – Round Robin

The road to the BC Hockey U18 Tier 1 Championships for the Admirals runs through the Westshore, Nanaimo and Comox – with a single game round robin format where the top two teams face each other in a winner take all best of three. The Admirals made quick work of the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies on Feb. 1 with a convincing 8-3 win at the Westhills ice facility. On Feb. 10, the Admirals made the up-Island trek to the Nanaimo Ice Centre where they defeated the Nanaimo Clippers in a 10-0 finish with Admirals goalie Everet Wilke adding another shutout to his tally.

The Comox Strathcona Bears faced off against the Admirals at the Pearkes Recreation Centre on Feb 11 – a match that saw a well-rested Bears team take on the Admirals who had played the previous afternoon. The two top Division 1 rivals held nothing back from the first shift until the last. Comox struck first with a goal the on-ice officials failed to call off despite Admirals goalie James Hall’s skate blade coming out of its holder making it impossible for Hall to slide over to face the Comox point shot. The Admirals responded with a goal by #11 Snead four minutes later. The Admirals and Bears traded goals back and forth over the first two periods (#5 Buie, #12 Hanoski) with the game-winning goal being potted by #15 Pemberton at 14.28 of the third period. Final score: 5-2 Admirals.

February 4, 2024
Chilliwack U18 A1 T1 Exhibition Match

The PCHA U18 Flight 1 Division-winning Chilliwack Bruins welcomed the U18 Island League-winning VMHA Admirals in an exhibition friendly at the Sardis Ice Centre – with the Admirals looking to keep sharp against a strong competitor during its playoff run in the VIAHA Island League Division 1 Championships.

These two teams had hoped to test their mettle during the Chilliwack U18 Rep Tournament a few weeks earlier, but the Bruins fell in the semi-finals to the Abbotsford Hawks – whom the Admirals subsequently defeated in the gold medal game 5-3. Both teams came out of the gate strong, but the Admirals dominated game play in what was a face-paced affair. With full-time expired the Admirals had handed the banner-winning Bruins a 6-2 loss.

January 28, 2024
Semiahmoo U18 A1 Ravens vs. U18 VMHA Admiral Friendly

The U18 Admirals travelled to the home of the Semiahmoo Ravens Minor Hockey Association in picturesque White Rock for a friendly before each team entered playoffs in their respective districts.

This proved to be a low scoring tightly played outing as both teams traded multiple scoring opportunities over the course of three 20-minute frames.

The Admirals enjoyed a one-goal lead (2-1) until the dying seconds of the third period when the Ravens strategically pulled their goalie to go six on five against the Admirals squad – leading to a buzzer beater to tie the game with mere seconds to spare. Two OT sessions failed to produce a game winner and in true hockey fashion set things up for a winner-take-all shootout. Alternating shots were traded across five rounds of shooters with the Ravens’ netminder and the VMHA’s goaltender Wilke turning each attempt away – finally, the Admirals slipped the game-winner by the Ravens’ goaltender for the 3-2 shootout win.

January 27, 2024
Admirals U18 T1 Division 1 League Champions

The U18 Admirals are the VIAHA Division 1 Island League Champion for the third straight year – with a 10-1-1 league record. High scoring players combined with solid goal tending from James Hall and Everet Wilke stand as testament to the 77 GF vs. 31 GA over the course of the 2023-2024 season. The Admirals outscored their next closest opponent by 46 goals – setting the groundwork for the upcoming Round Robin play against division rivals the Comox Strathcona Bears (second place), the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies (fifth place) and the Peninsula Eagles (seventh place).

VMHA President Nikki Reich attended the U18 Practice to say a few words and present the Island League Division 1 banner to the team.

January 20, 2024
VIAHA Division 1 Regular Season in the Books

Island league play came to a close for the U18 Admirals with a dominant 6-2 win over the Peninsula Eagles. The win was followed a week later by a very spirited game on Jan. 20 against the Comox Strathcona Bears where the VMHA squad suffered its first regular season loss. The Admirals finished the season with a winning 10-1-1 record – ahead of the Bears who held an 8-2-2 record, the Oceanside Generals (6-4-2), VMHA Admirals T2 team (6-4-2), Juan de Fuca Grizzlies (4-7-1), the Nanaimo Clippers (2-8-2) and the Peninsula Eagles (1-0-11).

Next up – Round Robin Playoffs

January 9, 2024
Admirals U18 T1 Wins Gold at Chilliwack U18 Rep Tournament

The Admirals U18 T1 team added a third medal to its 2023-2024 season total with a gold medal win at the Chilliwack U18 Rep Tourney held Jan. 4-7, 2024, on the Lower Mainland.

The Admirals faced stiff competition on their road to the gold medal game with an opening 6-0 win over the Abbottsford A1 T1 Hawks, a hard-fought battle over the Edmonton-based Don Wheaton SSAC U18AA (7-3), a 1-2 loss against the U18 A1 Langley Eagles, and a semi-final 5-0 shutout win over Island division rivals, the Comox Valley Strathcona Bears T1 team. The VMHA U18s battled back from a two-goal deficit midway through the second period in a thrilling come-from-behind 5-3 win over the Abbottsford A1 T1 Hawks to take the gold medal match. This tournament win follows a gold medal win at the Comox Valley Bears 2023 Thanksgiving Tourney in October and a silver medal win in November at the 2023 Tim Jardine Tournament in South Delta.

WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: U18 Rep Tournament 2024 - GOLD MEDAL GAME - Abbotsford Hawks vs Victoria Admirals on YouTube courtesy of Cele Entertainment and the Chilliwack Minor Hockey Association.

December 17, 2023
Admirals T1 Poised to Win 2023-2024 Division Banner

The VMHA T1 team put a lock on the 2023-2024 season league play banner with a battle royale against the Oceanside Generals.

The Generals scored their first and second goals on the Admiral’s heavily screened goaltender Everett Wilke during a 5-on-4 and subsequent 5-on-3 powerplay. The Admirals pushed back hard with goals from Allejandro Snead and Jack Hall with 7:20 and 2:57 remaining in the first period to tie the game up. The Admirals never looked back during what was a feisty back-and-forth affair as they piled on seven more goals from Brady Hewitt Wilcox, Ollie Pemberton, Jordan Hanoski, Quinn Cramb, Ryan Helmkay, Allejandro Snead and Cramb in a 9-6 win over the visiting mid-Island team.

With an impressive 9-0-1 record and only two league games left – the Admirals are positioned to take home the Island League Tier 1 Division 1 banner for the second season in a row. Well done, Team!

The Admirals are now on break until Jan. 4, 2024, when play starts at the Chilliwack Minor Hockey U18 Tier 1 Representative Tournament running until Jan. 7, 2024. Go Admirals!

December 14, 2023
Admirals T1 vs. Admirals T2

Thursday night’s game between the Admirals T1 and T2 teams pitted friends and former teammates in a rematch of their Nov. 19, 2023, 2-2 draw. The first place T1s were determined to put on a better showing than their previous matchup against their second place VMHA sister team.

The T1s pressured the T2s out of the gate and applied that pressure throughout the first period – leading to goals against T2 goalie Sullivan Day at 13:45 (Brady Hewitt Wilcox), Ollie Pemberton (10:53), and defenseman Harrison Hurst (10.27). T2 Alternate Captain Justin Tran slipped the only T2 goal past T1 netminder James Hall in the opening minutes (18:56) of the second frame. The T1s responded with three goals in succession from Ryan Helmkay (9:58), Pemberton (5:49), and Hewitt Wilcox (1.49) to close out period number two. Hewitt Wilcox potted the final T1 goal (in a four-goal effort for Hewitt Wilcox), with 9:41 left on the clock to seal the 7-1 win.

December 11, 2023
Banner Weekend for Admirals T1 – Back to Back Wins

Admirals vs JDF Grizzlies
After a two-week break in league play, the U18 T1 Admirals were back in action against the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies T1 team on Saturday, Dec. 9 at Pearkes Arena.

The 6-0-1 Admirals team struck first with Ollie Pemberton sliding one by the Grizzlies’ netminder at 12:21 of the first period – after fierce end-to end play during the opening minutes of the first period. The JDF team responded moments later by ringing a point shot post-and-in high blocker-side on Admirals goaltender James Hall. That would be the one and only goal Hall would allow in what was in the end a very poised showing for the T1 goalie over all three periods.

The Admirals continued to drive the JDF net and potted one more goal (Brady Hewit Wilcox) in the first, followed by five more (Helmkay, Hewitt Wilcox, Pemberton, Buie, Pemberton) in the second frame. The eighth goal came in the dying minutes of the third period with Jackson Buie netting his second goal of the game – to match Hewitt Wilcox’s two-goal tally. Alternate captain, Ollie Pemberton, added another hat trick to his points tally with the opening goal two more in the second.

Admirals vs Nanaimo Clippers
The Admirals travelled 90 minutes north on Sunday, Dec. 10, for a match up against the T1 Nanaimo Clippers for what turned out to be a physical and penalty-filled affair. At 11:47 of the first period, Jasper Keast drilled a shot from just inside the Clipper’s blue-line that rippled the twine from some 50 feet out. The two teams then traded goals and by ice-clean they were deadlocked at 2-2 following a beauty goal from Admirals’ forward Alejandro Snead.

Jack Hall scored with a blistering ice-level shot off the opening face off through the Clipper goalie’s five-hole to put the Admirals up by one. Nanaimo responded immediately and tied things up 3-3 on the very next shift – sliding one by Admiral’s goalie Everett Wilkie. Wilkie stood tall for the Admirals as the Clippers continued to press and forced Wilkie to make multiple stops on several scoring attempts. Seven more goals followed for Admirals forwards with goals from Ollie Pemberton (2), Rowan Brody-Rafuse, Jordan Hanoski, Quinn Cramb, and two more from Jack Hall – for the hattie.

The Admirals now face its sister team – Admirals T2 – in a rematch of their Nov. 19 game – on Dec. 14.

Thank you Sponsors!!
The VMHA Admirals honoured their sponsors this past weekend by displaying their new team banner – with great appreciation to CS Creative for its high-end design and to Digital Direct Printing for its final output. The banner will be displayed at all home, away and tournament games for the duration of the 2023-24 hockey season. On behalf of the players, coaching staff and families, thank you to our sponsors for your generous support!

November 20, 2023
Double-header weekend vs. division rivals VMHA T2 and Nanaimo Clippers

It was a busy weekend for the VMHA T1s with two games against division rivals the Nanaimo Clippers on Saturday, Nov. 18, and the VMHA T2 Admirals on Sunday, Nov. 19, afternoon.

The VMHA Admirals came to play against the Clippers with three goals in the second period by Alejhandro Snead (assisted by team captain Eric Murphy), defenseman Jasper Keast and quick-skating forward Jack Hall. Zachary Warnick potted the fourth goal at 16:32 of the third period (a beautiful shorty) making for another shutout for Admiral’s goaltender Everett Wilke.

Going head-to-head with the VMHA T2s on the Pearkes Green Rink on Sunday, the Admirals T1 team was forced to battle back after two quick goals by VMHA T2 forward Brody Armstrong and Ronin Nair in the early minutes of the first period. Showing their determination and resilience – despite being down forward Jackson Buie, Ryan Helmkay (recently returned from IR) and defenseman Cale Kaufman – goals followed from Brady Hewitt Wilcox at 3:52 of the first period and Zachary Warnick in the dying seconds of the second to seal the tie for these two Division 1 rivals.

November 14, 2023
Silver for Admirals at the Tim Jardine Tournament in South Delta 

The VMHA U18-T1 Admirals came away with a silver medal after a grueling five-game run at the Tim Jardine Tournament hosted by South Delta Minor Hockey over the Remembrance Day weekend.

The Admirals came out firing against Williams Lake and dominated all aspects of play. However, the Williams Lake goaltender stopped 34 shots before VMHA forward Brady Hewitt-Wilcox drilled one into the back of the net at 18:07 of the third period. Physically, Victoria outworked Willams Lake and tallied a total of 49 shots while Admiral’s netminder Everett Wilke faced only 13 shots over 60 minutes of play. The Admirals took the first game of the tournament with a 3-0 win with goals two and three from Jackson Buie and Rowan Brodie-Rafuse respectively.

The host South Delta U18 A1 team was next on the Admirals menu for the first of two games on Friday, Nov. 10 and proved to be stronger competition than the U18-T1’s Thursday matchup. The Admirals started strong with a goal from Zachary Warnick at 10:30 of the first period. However, the VMHA's already short roster (13 skaters/one goalie) was further reduced with a freak injury to gritty hard charging center Jackson Buie. Buie was forced to sit the rest of the tournament with a lower leg injury, but in true form he attended each game, encouraging his teammates from the bench. Final score was a 3-2 win thanks to timely goals from Rowan Brodie-Rafuse and Brady Hewitt-Wilcox in the final frame.

Friday’s Game two hosted at the South Delta Recreation Centre against the Peninsula Eagles was a unique experience for all. Stormy weather cancelled BC Ferry sailings over the course of the day and high winds and rain arrived in full force prior to game time. The 8 p.m. start against the Eagles was pushed back due to an injury during the preceding game – the 30-minute delay did not faze the Admirals and they were up 6-1 early with a hat trick from Zachary Warnick. Part way in to the first period the storm made its presence felt as power to the recreation centre failed and the ice plunged into semi-darkness – leading to a 40-minute delay in play. The two Island teams know each other well, and players took this strange opportunity to catch up with each other about tournament events. Play resumed after lighting was restored by facility staff and by the game’s end (at 10:40) the Admirals had prevailed with a 9-2 win.

Despite going 3-0, the Admirals found themselves in second place overall and faced Williams Lake (the third-place team) in the semi-final match. Like their first meeting, the Admirals outplayed, outshot and outscored the team from central B.C. Final tally, a 4-1 win with 59 shots to 20 in favour of the Victoria team.

The 12-man Admirals roster was reduced to 11 skaters going into the gold medal game against the undefeated Vancouver Thunderbirds – coaching staff had to roll 4-D and 7-forwards for 60 minutes. Banged-up, bruised and short-benched, the Admiral players gave everything they had left against a strong, well-structured 15-skater Thunderbirds team. Overcoming an early two-goal deficit, the Admirals showed their character, compete level and heart by registering 28 shots and a pair of spectacular goals from Brady Hewitt-Wilcox in a 2-5 loss.

Congratulations to the U18 T1 team on a successful and character-inspiring silver medal showing on the Mainland!

October 23, 2023
Admirals U18 T1 battle Seattle Junior Kraken in exhibition game

The VHMA U18-T1 Admirals hosted the AAA U18 Seattle Junior Kraken in a spirited North American friendly on Saturday, October 21, 2023, on the Gold Rink at the G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre.

The Junior Kraken (consisting of 2005 and 2006 players) faced off against the U18-T1s following the Kraken’s 7-3 win over the Peninsula Eagles earlier that day. The U.S. players came out strong and managed to sneak the puck blocker-side by Admirals goalie Everett Wilke for an early 1-0 lead. Not to be outdone, the Admirals responded with a blast past the Kraken netminder by Eric Murphy at 3:26 to tie things up.

Both teams traded goals for a 2-2 score before the Admirals pulled ahead with a third goal from Josh Keast at 7:27 of the second period – and never looked back. Final score 6-3 for the Canadian roster. Both teams are hoping for a rematch on American soil in the coming weeks – stay tuned!

October 15, 2023
Admirals U18-T1 wins gold at Comox Valley Bears 2023 Thanksgiving Tourney

The VMHA Admirals U18-T1 team, coached by Chris Driebergen and Ryan Hays, went undefeated in round-robin play – overcoming the Peninsula Eagles (8-1), the Strathcona Bears (5-2); and the Powel River Kings (10-2). The Admirals faced the Surrey Thunder in the pool cross-over semi-finals and earned their place in the gold-medal game with a dominant 8-2 win over the Mainland team. The 31-7 goal differential over the four games illustrates the offensive power of the 14 VMHA skaters – and the strength of the two U18-T1 netminders, James Hall and Everett Wilke.

In an interesting twist of fate, the U18-T1 team faced off in the finals against its sister team – the VMHA Admirals U18-T2 team – that had earned its way into the gold-medal game with a thrilling overtime win (3-2) against the hometown Strathcona Bears.

The U18-T1s pressed early and Rowan Brodie-Rafus managed to get one by the U18-T2 netminder Sullivan Day at the 12:30 mark of the first period. A second goal, scored by Alejandro Snead followed in the middle frame at 13.26. While the T1 team dominated game play, the T2s withstood the relentless forecheck and physical defensive play of the U18-T1 team. With time expired, the U18-T1s celebrated a 2-0 victory – and a shut-out for goalie James Hall.

The Team would like to thank the Strathcona Bears, tournament organizers and volunteers for putting on a great tournament.

The U18-T1s are off next to the Tim Jardine U18 Showcase in South Delta for the Remembrance Day weekend. Go Admirals!

Many thanks to our sponsors: