Hockey season ends with a Bantam league championship

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

A good-sized crowd turned out on Sunday to watch what would be the last hockey game of the 2018/19 season in Slave Lake. It was the Bantam Thunder boys’ team versus Hinton, the deciding game of their best-of-three championship series in the Tier III Alberta Interlock Bantam league.

The two previous games had been as tight as they could be. Hinton won the first game 3 – 2 in a shootout in Slave Lake. Back in Hinton the next day, missing their captain and carrying only eight skaters, the Slave Lake boys somehow pulled off a 5 – 4 win.

But as it turned out, this one wasn’t close. Slave Lake went ahead early, then shut Hinton down the rest of the way for a 4 – 0 victory.

Nathan Hartman, Ethan Baril, Carson Masur and Kyle Campbell scored for the Thunder. Two goals in the first four minutes of the game put Hinton back on their heels, and a shorthanded goal a few minutes later took the wind right out of their sails. Brady Courtorielle faced 24 shots in the Slave Lake net for the shutout.

Midgets rally a bit
After that uncomfortable 10 – 0 loss in the opener against Edson, the Midget Thunder were out to redeem themselves a bit. Game 2 in Edson on March 24 was a much more respectable affair, which they lost 4 – 2. According to head coach Richard Chemago, unlike Game 1, the boys showed up, played hard and made a good account of themselves.

Edson was still the better team, but not by a big margin. The score was tied at one after one period, and Edson led 2 – 1 after two. Matthew Cardinal and Keenan Der scored the Slave Lake goals.

So a second-place finish in the league. Not bad at all, and Chemago says only three of the players will be graduating from the Midget program.

Pee Wees at provincials
At the provincial ‘B’ championships in LaCrete on the weekend, Slave Lake’s Pee Wee 1 team did well enough to advance to the Sunday semi-final round, but lost there.

The Thunder started out on Friday by tying Lethbridge 3 – 3. Saturday they beat Barrhead 6 – 3 and lost 7 – 3 to eventual champion Provost. The 1-1-1 record was good enough to get them into Sunday’s semi, which they lost 4 – 1 to Elk Point.

Comments on the tournament by coach Dwain Hill were not available by press time.

Arctic Winter Games
A fuller report on how local athletes did in the 2018 games will be coming next week. On the hockey side of things, Jacob Hartman was part of the silver medal-winning Team Alberta North Bantam boys’ team. Kennedy Hartman won a bronze with the Bantam girls.

The Bantam Thunder celebrate their league championship win against Hinton on Sunday, March 25 at the Tervita Arena in Slave Lake.

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