NAX WINS CSSHL U17 PREP CHAMPIONSHIP, THIRD OF 2023
This was the first season NAX competed in the U17 Prep division. It also marks their third championship of the 2023 Playoffs as the NAX U15 and U15 Prep teams won their divisions earlier this week.
NAX became the first CSSHL program to capture three CSSHL League Championships in one season. Multiple programs including NAX and Delta have won two championships in a single season.
It did not take long for action to kick off after puck drop at the U17 Western Championship finals. Both teams made it here off of their goal scoring prowess, but it was the goaltending shining through in the first period with Delta’s Armaan Kaila (30/33) and NAX’s Jordan Switzer (29/31) making 8-crucial saves a piece, leaving both teams scoreless through 20 minutes. Much more of the same can be said about the following frame.
Delta & NAX’s hard-nosed defence and dialled in goaltending made scoring a luxury. NAX would ultimately get into penalty trouble halfway through the period, having to fend off a 5-on-3 for nearly a minute and a half. NAX would later be awarded for their defensive endeavours, securing one on a 4-minute powerplay of their own thanks to the stick of Luke Powell.
Play would begin to open up in the third where Delta’s previous overtime hero, Isa Guram, would pot one home on the powerplay with a rocket off of the right-hand circle. This would start a momentum swing for Delta’s U17 squad that would carry through a majority of the period. With around 4-minutes to go in the third, Delta would squeeze another past Switzer thanks to their captain, Nash Holmes.
NAX would begin to heat up their play amidst those final minutes, and after relentless pressure and forecheck, Lukas Kaplan would be rewarded on the doorstep with the game-tying goal with only 57-seconds left in regulation.
Overtime would end shortly after puck drop. After a few chances deep in Delta’s end, NAX would get one more entry rush where after a Jaxen Gauchier shot, Finn Kallay would bury home the OT winner to close the U17 Western Championships.