With no games scheduled in the SHA playoffs until the 13th, teams participating in the annual tournament have either turned their attention to league playoffs or are resting up in anticipation of their next provincial match up. Here is what’s happening around the leagues:
Balgonie Bisons: The Bisons were hammered in game one against Bethune 8 – 0 and look to game two as a chance to even the series on home ice. In the QVHL, the Bisons are currently facing the Grenfell Spitfires who are trying to exact some revenge after Balgonie bumped them in provincials 2 games to 1. In their league series the Spitfires are up 2 – 0 with a chance to sweep the series tonight.
Bethune Bulldogs: The HHL representatives are riding high after an 8 – 0 drubbing of Balgonie in provincial play and a sweep of the Avonlea Arrows in the HHL semifinals. The dogs now turn their attention to the Wynyard Monarchs as their best of 5 league final kicks off tomorrow night in the Dog House.
Hague Royals: The Royals have put themselves in a hole after losing game one in the northern finals 6 – 0 to the Lanigan Pirates. They will need a stellar effort if they wish to keep the wheels turning on the team bus. In FCHL play the Royals came up against the Tisdale Ramblers, but fell short, losing the best of five 3 games to 1.
Lanigan Pirates: The Pirates are one win from the provincial A final after a solid 6 – 0 win over Hague on Saturday March 7th. Lanigan is on the other end of the spectrum in the LLHL finals as they dropped game two, 2 – 1, in their best of 5 against the Drake Canucks who also took game one by a 3 – 1 score. Game three in the league final is set to be played in Lanigan on Thursday March 12th.
Assiniboia Sr. Rebels: The Rebels were shocked by the Rocanville Tigers in game one of the southern B final, as the hometown Tigers dominated in a 7 – 3 performance. In the Notekeu League, the Rebels swept Coronach and are now up against the Gravelbourg Hornets in the league final. Currently their best of 7 series is tied at one after the Hornets picked up a game two victory 4 – 0, after Assiniboia took game one 3 – 1. Game three is slated to be played in the Hornets’ Nest on Saturday 14th.
Drake Canucks: The Drake Canucks kept the north final with Rosetown close through 40 minutes before the Redwings took control, en route to a 7 – 3 win. Drake is now forced to win game two on the road or their provincial run will come to an end. In LLHL play, the Canucks have gone a perfect 5 – 0, sweeping Davidson in the semifinals, before jumping out to a 2 – 0 series lead against Lanigan. Game three goes Thursday night in Lanigan where the Canucks can capture their first league title since 2011.
Rocanville Tigers: In the THL the Tigers finished in top spot, earning a bye to the league semifinals where they came up against the 6th place Theodore Buffaloes. The Tigers made short work of the best of 5, winning 3 straight, outscoring Theordore 27 – 7. That win propelled them to the league final where they will play Bredenbury or Langenburg who are currently contesting their semifinal.
Rosetown Redwings: In Rosetown, the SVHL regular season champions are looking to add two more banners to the local arena, in the form of a SVHL championship and a provincial B championship. In their league playoffs, the Wings swept through Central Butte 2 – 0 in the opening round before dumping Delisle 3 – 0 in the semis. This sets up a league final featuring the cream of the crop from the Valley, as the first place Redwings take on the second place Kyle Elks.
Bredenbury Cougars: This year the Cougars finished in 5th place in the THL, but are one win away from advancing to the league finals. In round one they took out the Ochapawace Thunder 3 games to 2 and are now up against the Langenburg Warriors, a team that finished in 2nd place in the “T” this year. After dropping game one 7 – 5, the Cougars have won back to back games, 3 – 1 and 5 – 4, with the last win coming in double overtime. Should the Cougars win tonight or tomorrow night they will advance to the finals to face the Rocanville Tigers.
Hudson Bay Hunters: The Hunters are in tough against the Wilkie Outlaws in provincial C action, and are one loss away from turning off the ice plant in Hudson Bay. In the FLHL this year, the Hunters finished in third place, drawing the second place Valley Axe Men in the league semifinals. Hudson Bay came up short in the best of five, splitting the first two games, only to lose the final two 6 – 5 and 8 – 6.
Radville Nationals: In Radville the hockey fans are smiling. Not only are the Nats one win away from a trip to the provincial C final, they are one win away from the league finals. Currently they lead the Balcarres Broncs after winning game one 5 – 4 and game two 4 – 1. Should they find a way to grab another victory, they will face either the Grenfell Spitfires or the Balgonie Bisons in the “Q” final.
Wilkie Outlaws: The Outlaws, playing out of the SWHL, dominated game one against Hudson Bay in their provincial C semifinal. In league play, Wilkie had little trouble sweeping the Eatonia Huskies in 3 straight and are now in the middle of a league final against the Kindersley Red Lions. The Outlaws drew first blood in their best of 5 with a 5 – 1 home ice win before getting shelled in K-town to the tune of a 7 – 2 Red Lions victory. Game three goes Wednesday night in Wilkie.
Avonlea Arrows: This year the Arrows stumbled to a last place finish in the highly competitive HHL, as they were only able to grab 5 of a possible 36 points, yet here they are, one win from the D finals, after dumping Central Butte and Imperial in SHA play. In league playoffs, the Arrows upset the second place Strasbourg Maroons, winning their round one best of three series in two straight. This meant a date with the Bethune Bulldogs, who were clearly the superior team, sweeping the semifinal series 3 – 0.
Beechy Bombers: In the SVHL this year the Bombers finished in 6th spot and drew the third place Eston Rambers in round one action. In the best of three, Eston picked up back to back wins, 9 – 7 and 7 – 5, as they knocked the Bombers from Valley playoff action. Beechy now needs to focus on Dinsmore, as they are one win away from advancing to the D final, after the Bombers eked out a game one win, 7 – 6.
Dinsmore Dynamos: Dinsmore suffered a similar fate as the Beechy Bombers in round one of their SVHL playoffs. In league play, the Dynamos finished 5th with a 14 – 8 record, and were forced to play the 4th place Delisle Bruins, a team who finished one point up on Dinsmore in league play. In game one, the Bruins picked up a 9 – 4 home ice win and followed that up with a 7 – 5 road win to sweep the series. Dinsmore cannot afford to lose their next game, as they are down 1 – 0 in the provincial D semifinals against their rivals from Beechy.
Gull Lake Greyhounds: In the White Mud Hockey League, the Greyhounds finished in top spot, 8 points ahead of the Shaunavon Badgers, in league play. As the playoffs unfolded, however, the Hounds found themselves in an unexpected hole against the upstart Consul Rockets. Gull Lake dropped game one 6 – 4 before losing game two 3 – 2 in overtime. With their backs against the wall, Gull Lake picked up three straight wins, 6 – 3, 8 – 4, and 5 – 3, as they avoided an embarrassing first round loss. That series win sets up a league final featuring the first place Hounds and the second place Badgers. After two games, Gull Lake leads the series 2 – 0, picking up an 8 – 2 game one win, following that up with a 7 – 2 game two victory.
For the eight towns left in the SHA playoffs, it certainly is a great time to be a hockey fan.