Midgets, Bantams move on in league playoffs over Wabasca

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Slave Lake’s Midget and Bantam boys’ hockey teams advanced in league playoffs on the weekend, winning two straight against their opponents from Wabasca. The Midgets go on to the league final against Edson, who upset Jasper in the other semi-final. The Bantams will likely face off against Hinton.

The Midgets kicked off their best-of-three series against Wabasca with a 9 – 6 win on March 9 in Slave Lake. The Thunder enjoyed the edge in play for most of the time into the first part of the third period and built up an 8 – 2 lead. But then they kind of dozed off and Wabasca roared back, scoring four of the last five goals to make it interesting.

Defenceman Jace Stephenson’s second goal of the game proved to be the winner. Chase Nehring faced 27 shots in the Slave Lake net for the win.

The teams hit the ice for the second game in Wabasca on Saturday, and this time the Thunder poured it on, winning 14 – 4. Head coach Richard Chemago says one factor was Wabasca was short of players. As for his team, “they behaved themselves and applied themselves,” he says.

Scoring details were not available by press time.

Looking forward to the championship series against Edson, Chemago says, “of all the teams, Edson has the best offensive punch, and a good goaltender.” The teams played three close games during the regular season, with Edson winning twice.

Bantams
Also playing Wabasca in league playoffs, the Bantam Thunder won Friday’s game 9 – 3 at home. They led 6 – 0 after two periods and matched Wabasca goal for goal in the third. Seven different Slave Lake players scored in the game, with Jacob Hartman and Kyle Campbell getting a couple apiece. Brady Courtorielle stopped 18 shots for the win.

Saturday’s game at Marian Wolitski Arena in Wabasca was closer, but the hosts again found themselves fighting back from an early deficit. The final score was 6 – 3 for Slave Lake. Hartman’s second-period goal turned out to be the winner.

Pee Wees deadlocked
Slave Lake’s Pee Wee 1 teams lost Friday in league playoffs in Fort Saskatchewan, then turned around and won by a similar score in Game 2 at home on Saturday.

In Game 1, shots on goal were pretty close, but Fort Sask came out on top by a 7 – 2 score. Kaleb Vanhoek and Kolby Courtorielle scored the Slave Lake goals.

Back home on Saturday Slave Lake gave up the first goal, but then reeled off seven straight and won the game 7 – 3. Tanner Churchill scored five of his team’s goals. Vanhoek and Cohen Foster got the others. Damien Vyse saw 32 shots in the Slave Lake net. Thanks to it being a two-game, total-goal series, Fort Sask. wins by one.

In provincial zone playdowns, the Pee Wees beat LaCrete 3 – 2 and won the series to become zone champions. They’ll play in the provincial championships in LaCrete later this month.

As for the Slave Lake Atom 1 team, it lost its opening playoff game to Edson 7 – 2. Game 2 isn’t until March 24.

A Slave Lake Bantam player gets a shot on net against Wabasca in a playoff game on March 9.

Damien Vyse of the Pee Wee 1 Thunder braces for a shot in a March 8 provincial playdown game against LaCrete on March 8.

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