As the 2016 provincial playoffs approach the crystal ball, cracks and all, has been brought out of it's hiding spot and the question has been asked, who will survive round one?
Let the debate begin...
Kerrobert Tigers vs. Kenaston Blizzards
Blizzards in a series that will be closer that it looks on paper
Luseland Mallards vs. Edam 3Stars
The Mallards will find success in a year full of struggles
Theodore Buffaloes vs. Allan Flames
Allan advances in a tight series
Redvers Rockets vs. Cupar Canucks
With the benefit of home ice, Redvers prevails
Foam Lake Flyers vs. Central Butte Flyers
Foam Lake will win, but by a slim margin
Beechy Bombers vs. Craik Warriors
Beechy will take this series
Eatonia Huskies vs. Kyle Elks
Kyle will advance
Naicam Vikings vs. Delisle Bruins
Give this one to the Bruins
Davidson Cyclones vs. Dinsmore Dynamos
Look for Davidson to advance
Macklin Mohawks vs. Eston Ramblers
Ramblers will advance with the minor upset
Wawota Flyers vs. Bredenbury Cougars
Wawota in a close series
Gull Lake Greyhounds vs. Strasbourg Maroons
Gull Lake will advance in this series
Wilkie Outlaws vs. Outlook Ice Hawks
Take Wilkie plus the over
Elrose Aces vs. Biggar Nationals
Biggar will move on from this one
Rocanville Tigers vs. Odessa Bruins
The Tigers will move on
Esterhazy Flyers vs. Carnduff Red Devils
Carnduff will prevail in this series
Oxbow Huskies vs. Langenburg Warriors
Go with Langenburg in this match up
Drake Canucks (bye in round one)
Kindersley Red Lions vs. Leader Flyers
Red Lions will sweep this round
Bruno T-Birds vs. Rosetown Redwings
Rosetown in two straight
Tisdale Ramblers vs. Hudson Bay Hunters
Take the Hunters with the upset of round one in A
Lanigan Pirates vs. Prairie Outlaws
Pick the Pirates, but in 3
Hague Royals vs. Wynyard Monarchs
Royals in 3, thanks to home-ice advantage
Assiniboia Rebels vs. Radville Nationals
The Nats in two straight
Arcola-Kisbey Combines vs. Milestone Flyers
Take the Flyers in three
Grenfell Spitfires vs. Lumsden Monarchs
Tough draw for Lumsden, take the Spits in 3
Avonlea Arrows vs. Balcarres Broncs
Broncs in a sweep
Raymore Rockets vs. Balgonie Bisons
Balgonie will need 3, but will get the job done
Bethune Bulldogs vs. Watrous Winterhawks
Dogs on a mission this year, first round sweep over the Hawks
LeRoy Braves (bye in round one)
It's the time of year every fan of senior hockey in Saskatchewan waits for, the release of the draws for the annual provincial tournament. This year marks the return of several provincial mainstays and features several intriguing match ups right out of the gate.
Here are the match ups:
Bethune 2 at Lanigan 3: The Lanigan Pirates were looking for their sixth provincial title and after a game two road loss forced to play in a one game, winner takes all match up. The puck dropped on game three in Lanigan and both teams could not be blamed if they were playing with butterflies in their stomachs. The contest remained scoreless through the first period and the two teams were down to the final 40 minutes to determine a winner. In the second period Bethune started to exert themselves and were rewarded with the only goal of the period as Chad Filteau converted a pass from Mitch Boucher at the 12 minute mark. The 1 – 0 score held up through two periods and the Dogs were 20 minutes from an A title. In the third period, with Bethune leading on the shot clock, 24 to 10, the Pirates found another gear and began bringing the play to the Bulldogs. Evan Bryksa was able to beat Ryan Senft after taking the pass from Brent Twordick and the game was knotted at ones. Less than two minutes later the horns were blaring in the Lanigan Arena as Brandon Herrod put Lanigan ahead for the first time in the contest. Play continued at a fevered pace until Bethune was rewarded with a power play and the Bulldogs big game player, Mike Reich, tied the game at two. As time continued to melt off the clock the arena was rocking in anticipation of what would likely be the game winner. Both teams traded power play chances late and while obviously wanting to capitalize they did not want to give up a shorthanded goal. With under three minutes left, and a Pirate in the penalty box, the Bulldogs were pressing and were inches from going ahead, but instead for the fourth time on the night they found iron. As it happens so often in this glorious game when one team misses at one end the other team capitalizes and so it was in Lanigan as the Pirates were able to go ahead again as Dean Beuker buried one from Tyson Hobbins. With less than a minute to go Bethune pulled Senft, called a time out and loaded up, looking for the goal to force overtime. The Pirates were looking to put one in the open net, but with 15 seconds left the puck went wide and icing was called. Both teams set up and the final seconds were played in Lanigan’s end until the puck squirted out to the neutral zone and the hometown faithful could exhale. The clock counted down and the Lanigan Pirates are the 2015 provincial A champions! Congratulations to the Lanigan Pirates and the Bethune Bulldogs on an amazing series.
Here are the numbers that matter:
With that, the 2015 SHA Provincial playoffs are complete. It has been a pleasure to bring the scores and schedules to you this season. None of this would have been possible without the great fans tweeting out the scores from the four corners of the province. Congratulations to all four champions, and to all the followers of this site, enjoy the summer.
The final game in what has been a very exciting SHA provincial tournament goes tonight at 8:00 pm in Lanigan as the Bethune Bulldogs and the Lanigan Pirates will decide who is the best A team in the province this year. Tonight caps off what has been an exciting 4 days of provincial hockey that started Friday night on two fronts. On that night both Bethune and Rocanville staved off elimination with thrilling home ice wins, Rocanville went on to capture the B title and Bethune hopes they can follow suit with a road victory tonight. On Saturday the Wilkie Outlaws went into Radville and completed their sweep of the Nationals to win the C title for a second straight year, and as forementioned, the Rocanville Tigers won the B title on Sunday.
So tonight's the night. One game left, one title to be decided. Can Lanigan avoid another provincial A final loss to a HHL team? Who will prevail in net, as Senft and Reekie have both been worth the price of admission. What role will special teams play? Does Lanigan have an answer for Mike Reich? Can the Dogs control Tyson Hobbins? And most importantly, can the Pirates grab their 6th provincial title or can the Bulldogs finally break through with their first?
These questions will be answered tonight.
Rocanville 4 at Drake 1: In both game one and game two of the provincial B finals the Rocanville Tigers dug themselves early holes, 7 – 3 in game one and 4 – 1 in game two. In the first contest the Tigers’ comeback fell short as they lost 8 – 6, however in game two they were able to score 3 straight before pulling off a thrilling 5 – 4 win in double overtime. Fast forward to Sunday afternoon in Drake and once again the Tigers fell behind early after Kyle Bergen put the home team up 1 – 0, a score which held up through 20 minutes. In the second it was the special teams that made the difference as Rocanville tied it up on Devin Leblanc’s short-handed marker 3 ½ minutes in, followed up by Stephane Robidoux’s power play goal two minutes later. That would be all the scoring in the second period, and the teams headed to their dressing rooms with the Tigers holding a 2 – 1 lead. In the third the Canucks knew it was do or die and they played as such, throwing everything Rocanville’s way, however, with the Tigers on the power play again, series star, Buddy Smith upped their lead to two. The Canuck faithful were in shock as they were watching the clock count down on a 3 – 1 Rocanville lead and a potential home ice loss. During the final 20 minutes Drake outshot Rocanville 15 to 9, but the Tigers were able to shovel home a loose puck with 3 minutes left and that would be enough to secure the win and the provincial B title for Triangle Hockey League champions. Rocanville now has an SHA banner to hang beside their 2015 league championship, and here are the numbers that matter:
Congratulations to the Rocanville Tigers on winning the 2015 SHA Provincial B title, their first ever provincial title.
Wilkie 6 at Radville 3: The Wilkie Outlaws (SWHL) and the Radville Nationals (QVHL) were both coming off league championship victories and the only thing left to be decided was which team would be hoisting two banners next year, and which would be hoisting one. In the opening game of the provincial C final the Outlaws were up 2 – 0 before the Nats roared back with 3 of their own serving notice this would be a war. Wilkie was up for the battle and in the end an Outlaw goal with 1 minute to go was enough to seal the 4 – 3 victory, setting up a must win for Radville in game two. Game two remained scoreless through most of the first until the Nationals broke the ice, and after the opening 20 minutes they led 1 – 0. Wilkie had shown a quick strike offense during their provincial run and in the opening 7 minutes of the second period they shocked the Nationals with 4 quick goals to take a 4 – 1 lead. Radville was able to cut the lead in half as they notched their second of the night and after 40 minutes Wilkie was up 4 – 2 and were 20 minutes from their second straight provincial C title. In the final frame the home side made things interesting as they scored to make it 4 – 3, and the Nationals faithful were hoping a comeback was in the works. Any thoughts of that were dashed when Wilkie put the final touches on a clincher, scoring two more times and they were able to steer the game home, capturing the provincial C title with a 6 – 3 victory. The finish wasn’t what Radville had been working towards, but when they look back at the year that was, they can be proud of a QVHL title and a southern C title. For Wilkie, they will be the team raising two championship banners next year and here is how they captured their second provincial title in two years.
Games played: 8
Goals For: 64
Goals Against: 21
Drake 4 at Rocanville 5 (2ot): The Drake Canucks may have thought the finals would be a cake walk after jumping ahead 7 – 2 in game one, however the Rocanville Tigers were able to roar back, pulling to within one goal, before dropping the contest 8 – 6. In game two, the Canucks were able to grab the early lead as Jordan Schindel lit the lamp three minutes into the game. The Tigers were able to capitalize on the power play and with 6 minutes left in the first they had tied the game at 1 as Brad Hickman was able to find the back of the net. The score remained tied at 1 through 20 minutes with the Tigers holding a 14 – 5 advantage on the shot clock. The Canucks had a strong second period in game one and were looking for a repeat performance in game two and with 8 minutes gone in the frame, Jordan Schindel notched his second of the night, this one on the power play. With 3 minutes remaining in the second, Andy Blanke put Drake up 3 – 1, and the Canucks could feel a win coming. Things looked as if they were really going Drake’s way as it appeared Kyle Bergen had put the Canucks up 4 – 1, however after the officials’ deliberation the goal was waved off. After two periods the Canucks were leading 3 – 1 and were 20 minutes away from a provincial title. In the third period it took less than 5 minutes for Drake to score again and the momentum was clearly in their favor as long time Nokomis Chiefs star, Adam Hendry, put the Canucks up by 3. The Tigers were not ready to give up, and with 6 minutes left in the third they pulled to within two as they capitalized on the power play to make the score 4 – 2. The momentum had swung back in Rocanville’s favor and with 2 ½ minutes left they scored again to pull to within one. Drake was trying desperately to hold on, but with 42 seconds on the clock the Tigers made the comeback complete as they had the goalie on the bench for the extra skater and Rico Grose tied the game at 4. With the clock winding down the Canucks took a penalty and the Tigers carried 1:55 of power play time into OT. After failing to capitalize on the man advantage, both teams traded chances, however neither the Canucks nor the Tigers could bury the winner and a second overtime frame was needed. Heading into the 5th period, the shot clock had evened out, with both goalies having stopped 38 of 42 shots to keep their respective team in it, however something had to give. In the second overtime it took only 4 ½ minutes, but game one’s 4 goal man, Buddy Smith, finally ended it, giving Rocanville a huge come from behind win to set up game three in Drake on Sunday, March 29th.
Lanigan 2 at Bethune 3: After winning game one, 4 – 3, on a last second goal, the Lanigan Pirates headed south to Bethune to try and finish off the Provincial A finals. The Bulldogs, who may have felt they let one slip away, were looking to use home ice advantage to stay alive and force a third game. The action started early in Bethune as Travis Statchuk opened the scoring 3 minutes in to give the Pirates a 1 – 0 lead. This lead held up through 20 minutes, thanks in large part to some stellar saves by Lanigan net minder, David Reekie, who turned aside 14 shots. In the second the Bulldogs pushed the play early and were rewarded with a goal 5 minutes in as Chad Filteau potted one and then less than two minutes later Mike Reich converted on a 3 on 1 to make the score 2 – 1. Play continued on in the second, highlighted by some big hits and great saves, until Dean Beuker was able to tie the game after Lanigan broke in on an odd man rush with 5 minutes left in the period. That would be all the scoring in the period and the teams headed to the third tied at 2. In the final frame, Bethune went to the power play early, and after going 0 for 6 in game one Joel Kot was able to put one past Reekie to grab a 3 – 2 lead. With 7 minutes left, Ryan Lang took an ill-timed interference penalty sending the Pirates to the power play for the third time of the period. Lanigan pressed hard on the power play, however Ryan Senft stood tall in the net, letting Lang off the hook. The Pirates were looking to tie the game and with the goalie pulled they threw everything they had at Senft and after an icing with 2 ½ seconds left Lanigan had one last chance, but the Bulldogs held on for the 3 – 2 victory. Game 3 will be played back in Lanigan on Monday, March 30th.
The Gull Lake Greyhounds bookended their provincial run with a pair of blow out victories. In game one of round one, the Hounds shelled the Kyle Elks 10 – 1 and in their final game, Sunday night, they routed the Beechy Bombers 10 – 2. That victory was enough to bring the 2015 provincial D banner to Gull Lake. In the final round, the Hounds stole game one from Beechy with a 4 – 2 road victory and were feeling good heading home. Game two was never in doubt, as Gull Lake poured in 4 goals in the first period, and the rout was on. The Bombers tried to make a game of it in the second, as they were able to get two goals back, but the Greyhounds took control and never looked back, scoring three of their own, to lead 7 – 2 after 40 minutes. In the third period they were able to add three more goals and the clock couldn’t wind down fast enough for either side.
The Greyhounds were full value for their victory this year, knocking off Kyle in round one before dumping the Craik Warriors in round two, outscoring them 9 – 5. In the Southern finals, the Hounds were up against the defending D champions, and a last second goal by the Arrows gave them the early series lead. Gull Lake would not be denied, however as they stormed back with back to back wins by scores of 8 – 2 and 6 – 1. Here are the numbers that matter for Gull Lake:
· 9 games played
· 7 wins
· 2 losses
· 55 goals scored
· 23 goals against
The D title caps off a tremendous year for the Greyhounds as they are also the 2015 WMHL champions.
With Mother Nature sending a strong message to a lot of Saskatchewan that she is still in charge, three games went ahead on the SHA Provincial docket. The games featured first time losers, failed comebacks and last second defeats; and if it seems I am looking at things from a “glass half empty” view point, you should have seen my driveway an hour ago!
On to the action:
Gull Lake 4 at Beechy 2: The action kicked off on Friday night in Beechy, as the northern champion, Bombers, hosted the southern champion Gull Lake Greyhounds. Coming into this series the Bombers had experienced their share of adversity, so falling behind 1 – 0 in this series is not something that is insurmountable for them. In round one, Beechy survived a scare from the Allan Flames before being forced to play from behind in round two against Kelvington. In the northern finals, the Bombers needed extra time in game two to oust Dinsmore, stamping their ticket to the finals. Gull Lake, on the other hand, has looked impressive thus far, going 5 – 2 (note the error from the Tale of the Tape article). The Greyhounds started their SHA run with an improbable 10 – 1 drubbing of the always tough Kyle Elks, and since then they have dumped Craik and dethroned the defending champs from Avonlea.
In Friday’s game, the result was never really in doubt, as Gull Lake controlled the flow of the action on their way to a 4 – 2 triumph. Game two goes Sunday afternoon in Gull Lake, and if the Bombers are unable to solve the Hounds defense, one series will be in the books. Should game three be necessary it will be played back in Beechy on Thursday, March 26th.
Radville 3 at Wilkie 4: In Saturday’s lid-lifter, the Wilkie Outlaws welcomed the southern C champion Radville Nationals as these two teams squared off in game one of their series. Wilkie is looking to be the only team to repeat this spring, however the Nats, who are currently embroiled in the QVHL final with Grenfell, were looking to write their own story. During provincial play no team has been able to figure out the Outlaws, as they have been perfect, kicking Loreburn, Delisle, and Hudson Bay to the side along the way. Their 54 goals scored is far and away the most by any team left in provincials, as is their +39 goal differential. Radville has built a solid team, and playing out of the competitive QVHL gives the southern rep as much credibility as any team Wilkie has faced to date. During their run up to the finals, Radville remained perfect, dropping Ochapawace, Eatonia, and Bredenbury, which meant Saturday’s contest featured a couple of 6 – 0 teams, and something had to give. Even though Outlaws lead wire to wire, Radville kept it interesting and a third game is certainly not out of the realm of possibility. In game one, Wilkie held a 1 – 0 lead after 20 minutes, and a 2 – 1 lead after 40. In the third, the Nationals would not go away, and the teams would each find the net two times, which was all Wilkie needed for the 4 – 3 victory. Game two goes in Radville on Saturday March 28th, with the rubber match going the next night in Wilkie if needed.
Rocanville 6 at Drake 8: In Drake, the Canucks had just come off a 3 – 1 series win in the LLHL finals and were hoping to carry over the momentum into game one against the Tigers from the Triangle. Many pundits had already crowned Drake as the B champs after winning their northern final against the Rosetown Redwings. Rocanville, representing the south, had other ideas, and were ready for the fight. Leading up to the finals Drake had looked very impressive, knocking off Conquest, Outlook and the aforementioned Redwings, while Rocanville had their hands full with Langenburg before slipping by Assiniboia in the south finals. In game one, the Canucks opened the scoring as Jimmy Bubnick put the home side up before the game was three minutes old. The Tigers hung tough for the rest of the first, and early in the second, they were able to tie the game, causing the home fans to sit up and take notice. Their fears were quickly abated though, as three goals in three minutes put Drake up 4 – 1. The wild action continued as the last 10 minutes of the second featured 4 goals, and after forty minutes, Drake held a 6 – 3 lead. In the third, Trent Campbell added the Canucks 7th goal, and the home team held a comfortable 4 goal cushion. Rocanville was not going to go quietly into this stormy night, and they started their come back, scoring three times in 6 minutes, pulling to within one goal. The Canucks would find the back of the net one more time, and as the seconds finally melted off the clock, Drake held on to a wild 8 – 6 win. The Tigers will look to build on their third period momentum for game two, which is set to be played in Rocanville on Friday, March 27th. The Canucks will have to find a way to stop Buddy Smith, as the Tiger forward was able to light the lamp 4 times on the night.
Bethune 3 at Lanigan 4: In the final game of the night, the Lanigan Pirates and Bethune Bulldogs squared off to see who could draw first blood in the provincial A final. The Dogs came into the match up sporting a perfect 6 – 0 record, after dumping three formidable opponents in Bruno, Davidson, and Balgonie. The Pirates, who had just dropped the LLHL title to the Drake Canucks, had been flirting with disaster during their provincial run. In their opening series they let Tisdale jump ahead with a 7 – 4 win and then repeated the pattern in round two, losing game one to Shellbrook 2 – 1. In the north finals, Lanigan went 2 – 0 over Hague and were hoping to keep the winning ways going in the A finals.
As the game started to unfold it became apparent that Lanigan’s speed was going to be their strength, and Bethune would have to find a way to slow the game down using their size. Brent Twordick scored the only goal of the period as Lanigan took the lead on his power play marker. In the second period, the Bulldogs began to take control of the play, thanks in large part to their physical play, and they were rewarded with a shorthanded goal, courtesy of Lucas Ulmer. The second period ended with the teams tied at 1. In the third, Lanigan went on their fifth power play, and quickly took the lead as Evan Bryksa lit the lamp after some nice passing in the offensive zone. Russ Neilsen, who had a very strong game, knotted the affair at two after he converted on a pass from Derek Fuchs. The Dogs could feel the momentum shifting, and five minutes later they had their first lead of the series as Dustin McAngus put Bethune ahead 3 – 2. As time was winding down, the Pirates pressed on, and were rewarded as Twordick sniped his second of the night, ripping a one timer past Bethune net minder, Ryan Senft. With overtime looming, the Bulldogs took a costly penalty sending Lanigan to the PP with 90 seconds left. Lanigan had gone 2 for 5 with the man advantage, however it was looking like the Dogs were going to be able to hold on and send game one to an extra frame. With 2.1 seconds left in the game, Brandon Herrod found some open ice to the left of the Bulldogs’ goalie, and his shot found a way through Senft, bringing a roar from the home faithful as the Pirates scored the game one win. Game two is slated to be played in Bethune on Friday, March 27th and game three, if necessary, will be played back in Lanigan on Monday, March 30th.
All four series are off and running, and if the opening games are any indication, the series are all far from over, and that is just good news for hockey fans around the province.