President's Update - February 27th, 2014

Bethune Bulldogs & Avonlea Arrows advance to semi-finals….

A very tight playoff series ended on Wednesday evening with the Bethune Bulldogs holding on for a 5-4 victory over the Strasbourg Maroons to win the series 2 games to 1. Every game was a one goal game sans empty net goal in game one. Period one of this game saw most of the action in the Maroons end of the ice in the first half of the first period and eight minutes in Jacob Ulmer scored with a tip in of a Joel Kot point shot. Six minutes later Aaron Decorby scored on the power play to tie the game up and less than two minutes later Jory Millar scored to put the Maroons up 2-1. Two minutes later Mike Reich was awarded a penalty shot as he had come in alone shorthanded and was taken down and he capitalized and it was 2-2 after one period. In the second period the only goal came with just under three minutes left as Lucas Ulmer scored. Both goalies played real well in this game and there were plenty of chances for both sides in the second period. In the third period Bulldogs captain Dustin MacAngus scored just into the first minute after splitting the Maroons defence on a great individual effort. Greg Ferguson would get the Maroons to within one just three minutes later after a nice pass from Mitch McNish from behind the net. Mike Reich scored on the power play with a one timer with just under three minutes left to put the Bulldogs up by two. One minute later Maroons captain Eric Schultz scored and the Maroons had a minute and a half to try and tie the game. There was plenty of pressure and the Maroons did come close but it didn’t happen. Ryan Seibel stopped 34 shots in net for the Bulldogs and Jeremy Ellis stopped 36 shots for the Maroons. The Bulldogs were assessed six minor penalties and the Maroons had two penalties. The Bulldogs now take on the first place Avonlea Arrows in a best of five semi-final but must first play the Arrows in Provincials this weekend on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The Avonlea Arrows had a scare thrown into them Saturday evening by the Southey Marlins but bounced back with authority on Wednesday evening with a 9-0 victory over the Marlins to win their series 2 games to 1. James Ardelan scored three times and Scott Arnold scored twice to lead the way for the Arrows. Stuart Holland, Gavin Mievre, Calvin Watson and Shay Neufeld also scored for Avonlea. Nathan Fischl picked up the shutout in net for the Arrows and Kurtis Sollosy was in net for the Marlins. The Arrows were assessed four minor penalties and the Marlins incurred two penalties.

The Wynyard Monarchs and Cupar Canucks will now renew acquaintances in the other semifinal. Last year these teams played each other four times in the regular season, then played each other in the best of 3 Provincial ‘A’ final and the best of 5 League Final. These two teams split four regular season games this year with each team winning one and losing one in each rink. The Monarchs scored 14 goals to the Canucks 12 goals in those four games. Game one of this series is this Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. in Cupar. The next two games will be in Wynyard on Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Avonlea and Bethune played each other four times this year. Avonlea won both of their home games against Bethune 6-3 and 3-2. In Bethune Avonlea won 4-3 in overtime and Bethune won 4-3 in a shootout.  Games in this series will begin next week. Avonlea and Bethune play each other in Provincial ‘D’ this weekend in a two game total point series. Game one is 7:30 p.m. Friday in Avonlea and then game two is on Saturday evening in Bethune at 8:00 p.m. Playoff statistics are now posted.


Defending Champions move on….

2013 Highway Hockey League Champions, Cupar Canucks, defeated the Lumsden Monarchs 5-2 on Sunday evening to win their first round series over the Monarchs 2-0. There was no scoring in the first period and the Monarchs outshot the Canucks 13-8. In the second period Davis Brown scored in the first minute on the power play to give the Canucks the lead. Kyle Ermel and Shea Van Luven would also score in the second period and the Canucks had a 3-0 lead going into the third period. The Monarchs came to life midway through the third period with two goals in three minutes with the first goal off the stick of Steve Eberts and the second goal scored by Jeff Harris. The Canucks would quickly score to get a two goal lead as Shea Van Luven would score on the power play. Cody Hanson picked up an empty net goal and the final score would be 5-2. Each team had seven minor penalties. Jamie Wutke stopped 36 shots for the win and Trevor Thiessen stopped 32 shots for the Monarchs.

The Wynyard Monarchs defeated the Raymore Rockets 7-2 on Friday evening to win their series over the Rockets 2-0. Chad Mazurak had two goals and three assists while Donovan Hall and Kaitlin Blight each scored two goals to lead the way for the Monarchs. Matt Strueby also scored for the Monarchs. Tyrell Shulko and Josh Jordan on the power play scored for Raymore. Dave Perkin picked up the win in net for the Monarchs and John Arscott was in net for the Rockets. The Rockets were assessed six minor penalties and the Monarchs had nine. I

On Saturday evening the Southey Marlins won their second game of the year with a 6-4 victory over the first place Avonlea Arrows. The Arrows scored first in this game on a goal by Scott Arnold. Southey answered that just eleven seconds later as Cody Hall scored. Jared Molnar would score to put the Arrows back up and the league’s scoring leader, Pat Thompson-Gale, would score to tie the game. With five seconds left in the first period Jordan Hegglin scored to put the Marlins up 3-2 and give them a lead they would not relinquish.  Thompson-Gale would pick up his second goal of the game in the second period and James Dombowsky would score for the Arrows. Just fourteen seconds into the third period Shay Wirll would score on the power play to put the Marlins up 5-3. Calvin Watson would get the Arrows to within one goal but Dominic Perrault would score into the empty net and the Marlins would pick up the 6-4 victory. The Avonlea Arrows were a perfect 12-0 when scoring first this season and this was the first time they lost when scoring first. Kurtis Sollosy had a solid game in net for the Marlins and picks up the win and Nathan Fischl was in net for the Arrows. The Arrows had three minor penalties and the Marlins had two minor penalties.

Greg Ferguson scored at 1;48 of double overtime to give the Strasbourg Maroons  a 4-3 victory over the Bethune Bulldogs and force a third and deciding series game on Wednesday evening in Bethune. Goals by Mitch Boucher and Dustin MacAngus in the first period gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead after one period. Kurtis Decker scored and then Tyson Orban scored on a 5 on 3 power play and the game was 2-2 going into the third period. With four minutes left in the third period Greg Ferguson would score to give the Maroons their first lead of the game. With just under three minutes left in the period Mike Reich would score and force this game into overtime. Nothing was decided until Ferguson scored early in the second overtime on the power play. Jeremy Ellis picks up the win in net for the Maroons. Ryan Seibel was in net for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs had seven minor penalties and one major penalty and the Maroons had five minor penalties.

The Wynyard Monarchs defeated the Balgonie Bisons 5-2 on Sunday afternoon in Provincial ‘A’ play. Game two of this best of three series is Friday evening in Balgonie at 8:30 p.m. If a third game is required it will be played on Saturday evening back in Wynyard. The Avonlea Arrows will host the Bethune Bulldogs in the first game of their two game total point Provincial ‘C’ series at 7:30 p.m. on Friday evening. Game two of this series will be in Bethune on Saturday evening at 8:00 p.m.

Nominations for HHL awards are now being voted on by member teams. Up for League MVP this year are last year’s winner, Shay Neufeld from Avonlea, Bethune’s goalie Ryan Seibel, Cupar’s Kyle Ross, Lumsden Monarch’s Brady Aulie, Raymore sniper Tyrell Shulko, Southey Marlin’s Pat Thompson-Gale who this year’s winner of the Tyson Sievert Scoring Trophy, Quinn McIntosh from the Maroons and last year’s scoring champion Brett Leffler from Wynyard.

The MVP-Local nominees include Mark Ardelan from Avonlea, Mitch Boucher from the Bulldogs, Justin Schulhauser from the Canucks, Brady Aulie from Lumsden, Josh Jordan from Raymore, last year’s winner Pat Thompson-Gale from the Marlins, Eric Schultz from Strasbourg and Brett Leffler from the Wynyard Monarchs. Voting will also be done for Manager and Coach of the year, Rookie of the year and the All-Star team.  The Pennant and Team goaltending Awards are based on statistics and the team goaltending trophy will be awarded to Colin Monroe and Nathan Fischl from the Avonlea Arrows. The Pennant Award will be presented to the Avonlea Arrows who finished first place. The Sportsman Trophy goes has been in existence since the 1966-67 season and that trophy is presented to the League’s most sportsmanlike player. Last year this trophy was won by Kyle Ross from Cupar. This award is unique in that it is the only trophy where each team is asked to submit one name from another team and not from their team, which is done with the other awards. It is possible that we could end up with eight different names but usually there is someone that is common in selection from our teams.  

There are HHL playoffs this Sunday evening in Cupar and Provincial games this weekend in Avonlea, Bethune, Balgonie and possibly Wynyard. Get out to a game near you and thank you for supporting the Highway Hockey League.

Gerry Tomkins

HHL President

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