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Anmore's Leah Barnard named BC Hockey female player of the year

Barnard recorded 60 points, as well as a league-high 26 goals, in 31 games en route to a second straight provincial championship.

Pass it to Barnard.

This was most likely the popular go-to move for the Fraser Valley Rush this past season as the Anmore hockey product seemingly could not miss a shot.

The 18-year-old forward lit the lamp 26 times and added 34 assists for a total of 60 points in 31 games in the 2022-23 regular season, which also recently ended with back-to-back provincial titles.

Barnard's talent, precision and leadership was also recognized in earning the BC Hockey female under-18 AAA player of the year.

The Heritage Woods Secondary student's league-high goals and points were each more than double her stat totals from the 2021-22 campaign — 10 goals and 36 points.

As well, the U SPORTS/Western University commit was selected to the BCEHL female under-18 AAA all-star team.

Barnard was, what turned out to be, a very important cog in a well-oiled machine as the Fraser Valley Rush posted a 30-2 record in its latest BC Elite Hockey League (BCEHL) season.

And the team's 30 wins were won consecutively until the final two games on the schedule.

But while the perfect regular season wasn't meant to be, the top-ranked female under-18 AAA club in Canada ultimately ran the table and went 4-0 to claim its second straight B.C. banner.

Barnard's hot hands continued into the playoffs, recording eight points and a team-high six assists in those four tilts.

Fraser Valley swept the Greater Vancouver Comets (2-0) and the Thompson-Okanagan Lakers (2-0) to hoist the trophy once more.

The Rush, which consists of three players based out of the Tri-Cities, are now two wins away from returning to nationals and are looking to improve on their silver medal from last year.

Barnard's yellow and navy squad are set to face the Alberta-champion Red Deer Chiefs this weekend in a best-of-three series to determine the Pacific regional representative at the 2023 Esso Cup.

All contests will be played at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre in Red Deer.

Games one and two are set for 5 p.m. Pacific time today (April 7) and tomorrow (April 8), while game three's puck-drop, if necessary, is slated for 12 p.m. on Sunday (April 9).

The 2023 Esso Cup is scheduled for April 23 to 29 in Prince Albert, Sask.