President's Update - March 17th, 2014

Bethune Bulldogs sweep Pennant winners to advance to the League Final

*****Wynyard and Avonlea advance to Provincial ‘A’ & ‘D’ finals…..*****

On Wednesday evening the Bethune Bulldogs defeated the Avonlea Arrows 5-2 and advanced to their first appearance in the final since 2008 and the opportunity to claim the Robert Schultz Cup.The Bulldogs lost to the Wynyard Monarchs in that 2008 series in four games. In that series the Wynyard Monarchs won their first and only championship after joining the league for the 2002-03 season. The Bulldogs joined the Highway Hockey League in 1967 and left during the 1980’s. The Bulldogs came back to us for the 2000-2001 season and have reached the final in 2004 against Southey, 2005 against Avonlea and again in 2008 against Wynyard. After winning two overtime games against the first place Arrows to start this series game three was played on Wednesday evening in Avonlea. One of the keys to beating the Arrows is to score first as Avonlea has a great record when they score first. Scoring first is exactly what the Bulldogs did as defenceman Ryan Funk got them on the board just two minutes into the game. The Arrows would tie the Bulldogs two minutes into the second period on a power play goal off the stick of Calder Neufeld. The Bulldogs would answer back quickly with a power play goal of their own when another defenceman, Joel Kot, would score. Kot would score again even strength three minutes after that goal and the Bulldogs had a 3-1 lead heading to the third period.  The Bulldogs would score on the power play just nineteen seconds into the third period when Mike Reich scored. Shay Neufeld would score to get the Arrows to within two goals four minutes later but that would be it as Mike Reich would score again and the final would be 5-2. The Bulldogs sweep the Arrows 3-0 and now await the winner of the Cupar/Wynyard series.  Each team had eight minor penalties assessed against them in this game and the Arrows also had two misconducts.  Ryan Seibel picks up the win in net for the Bulldogs while Nathan Fischl was in net for the Arrows.

Also last Wednesday evening the defending HHL champions, Cupar Canucks, went into Wynyard and won 6-2 to force a game four in Cupar.  Brett Boha and Kyle Ermel scored in the first period to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead going into the second period. Justin Schulhauser would score what would end up being the game winning goal halfway through the second period. Chad Mazurak would then score to get the Monarchs to within two goals but Davis Brown would score for the Canucks to make it 4-1 going into the third period. Kyle Ross would put the Canucks up 5-1 before Brett Leffler would score to make it 5-2. Donovan Chow would score an empty net goal and the final score was 6-2. Jamie Wutke picked up the win in net for the Canucks and Dave Perkin would lose his first post season game of the year in net for the Monarchs. The Canucks had ten minor penalties and the Monarchs had nine. On Friday evening game four of this series was played. Tyler Stewart scored just 56 seconds into the game and the Canucks led 1-0. Bryan Kauk would score on the power play later in period and it was 1-1 heading into the second period. Donovan Chow and Kyle Ermel would score for the Canucks and Brett Leffler would score on another power play to make the score 3-2. Just 25 seconds left in the period and Davis Brown would score on the power play for the Canucks and it was 4-2 heading into the third period. Just 31 seconds into the third period Matt Strueby would score to get the Monarchs to within one goal. Two minutes later Cody Hanson would score to restore the two goal lead for the Canucks. With 1:34 left in the game the Monarchs would get their third power play goal of the evening off the stick of Dale Spelchen and again be one goal away from a tie game. Kyle Ermel would score an empty net goal and the final score was 6-4 for the Canucks. The Canucks had eight minor penalties called against them while the Monarchs had five. Jamie Wutke picked up the win in net for the Canucks while Dave Perkin was in net for the Monarchs. Game five of this semi-final will be on Wednesday evening with the winner advancing to the League Final against the Bethune Bulldogs.

Mike Reich (9 goals, 7 assists) from Bethune and Bryan Kauk (3 goals, 13 assists) from Wynyard lead all playoff scorers with 16 points in 6 games played. Jamie Wutke (4-2) from the Canucks leads all goalies with a 2.67 GAA. Ryan Seibel from the Bulldogs leads all goalies with a 5-1 record in playoffs.

Avonlea Arrows advance to Provincial ‘D’ Final….

In Provincial ‘D’ action, the Avonlea Arrows played Gull Lake in Avonlea on Saturday evening and came back from a 4-2 deficit to win 6-4. The deciding game of this series was played on Monday evening. This game was tied 5-5 after three periods. The Arrows won 6-5 after Ryan Cruse scored on the power play just 40 seconds into the second overtime period. The Arrows are back in the Provincial ‘D’ final for the second year in a row. They will now play St. Walburg Eagles from the North Saskatchewan River Hockey League in the Provincial ‘D’ Final.

Wynyard Monarchs advance to Provincial ‘A’ Final…

The Wynyard Monarchs and Bienfait Coalers replayed game two of their Provincial ‘A’ series on Sunday evening in Bienfait and the Monarchs won 5-3 to force the deciding game of this series on Monday evening in Bienfait. This replay was due to a ruling by the SHA regarding a protest that a suspended player should not have played for Wynyard last Saturday evening in the original game two that Wynyard won. In the deciding game on Monday evening the Monarchs also went into overtime and Brett Leffler scored to make the final 3-2. Like the Arrows the Monarchs are back in a Provincial final and will now play the Lanigan Pirates from the Long Lake Hockey League in the Provincial ‘A’ final.

Two Provincial finals and the League Championship means there is lots of hockey left the last two weeks of March....please get out to a game near you.

Gerry Tomkins

HHL President

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