President's Update - February 29th, 2016

Nominations for Highway Hockey League Awards announced…

Teams are now voting on League awards and all-star team for the 2015-16 season.  There are three left wings, two Centers, one right wing and a goalie nominated in the Most Valuable Player category.  The nominees are Kyle Oleniuk from the Avonlea Arrows, Kyle Ross from the Bethune Bulldogs, Donovan Chow from the Cupar Canucks, Kyle Johnson from the Lumsden Monarchs, Travis Bosch from the Raymore Rockets, Quinn McIntosh from the Strasbourg Maroons and Brett Leffler from the Wynyard Monarchs.

The Eckdahl-Jenkins Trophy goes to the Most Valuable Player – Local. Two Centers, two right wings, two left wings and a defenceman are nominated in this category.  In this category the nominees are Josh Jelinski from the Avonlea Arrows, Mike Reich from the Bethune Bulldogs, Brett Boha from the Cupar Canucks, Kyle Johnson from the Lumsden Monarchs, Tyrell Shulko from the Raymore Rockets, Eric Schultz from the Strasbourg Maroons and Brett Leffler from the Wynyard Monarchs.

The Stats-Van Trott goes to the Rookie of the Year. There are four nominees this year. They are Brayden Frank from the Cupar Canucks, Bryce Lugt from the Lumsden Monarchs, Donovan Thompson from the Strasbourg Maroons and Landin Leshchyshyn from the Wynyard Monarchs.

The Tyson Sievert HHL Scoring Trophy was won by Kyle Ross of the Bethune Bulldogs. This year we have renamed the trophy for Team Goaltending after Gunnar Lindal who passed away in 2014.  Gunnar was a longtime Wynyard Monarch and worked in many capacities for the club when he stopped playing. His grandsons Aaron Lindal, Tyson Lindal and Tayler Jordan all played in our league. The Gunnar Lindal Team Goaltending Trophy was won by the Raymore Rockets this year. Goalies Travis Bosch and Anthony Bergen will share this trophy this year.

The Most Sportsmanlike Trophy is voted on differently than the other awards. Each team submits one name from another team. Although there are only seven votes it is quite common to have one player win this trophy outright. Also being voted on are the Ken Hale Memorial Award for Manager of the Year and the Lynwood Millar Trophy for Coach of the Year. The All-Star team is also being voted on. Award winners will be announced in March and trophies and plaques will be presented at team wind ups or possibly at one of the final games.

Raymore Rockets win last spot into semi-finals…

The Raymore Rockets defeated the Strasbourg Maroons 2-1 in overtime in Strasbourg on Tuesday, February 23rd and advanced to the semi-finals against the Lumsden Monarchs. There was no scoring in this game until the 14:56 mark of the third period when Chad Filteau scored. The Maroons would score 1:03 later on a goal from Greg Ferguson. Reid Colley would score his first goal of the year in overtime 8:22 in and the Rockets would win 2-1. The Maroons had two minor penalties and the Rockets had one. Travis Bosch picked up the win in net for the Rockets and Jeremy Ellis was in net for the Maroons. 

The first round of playoffs had seven games and all games were won by one goal. Four of the games went to overtime. Here’s hoping the semi-finals will be just as exciting. The Rockets open up at home in their best of five semi-final against the Lumsden Monarchs on Thursday, March 3rd. Game two will be in Lumsden on Saturday, March 5th at 8 p.m.  The Bethune Bulldogs open up at home against the Wynyard Monarchs on Tuesday, March 1st at 8:00 p.m. Game two of this series will be on Saturday, March 5th at 8:00 p.m. in Wynyard.

Bethune Bulldogs advance to South Final in Provincial ‘A’…

The Bethune Bulldogs defeated the Lumsden Monarchs 3-2 on Thursday, February 25th in Lumsden and then defeated the Monarchs 6-5 in overtime the next evening in Bethune to win their Provincial ‘A’ series 2-0. On Thursday evening the Monarchs got goals from Kyle Johnson in the first period and Liam Brennan in the second period and led 2-0 going into the third period. In the third period goals from Carter Smith, Lucas Ulmer and Ryan Lang gave the Bulldogs a 3-2 victory. Ryan Senft stopped 32 shots in net for the Bulldogs and Matt Weninger stopped 47 shots for the Monarchs. The Monarchs were assessed four penalties and the Bulldogs three. The next evening in Bethune the Bulldogs would defeat the Monarchs 6-5 in overtime. Again the Monarchs would take a 2-0 lead in the game on goals from Andrew Perrault and Tyler Murray. With four minutes left in the period, Mike Reich would score a shorthanded goal and with two seconds left in the period Joel Kot would score to tie the game 2-2 going into the second period. Ward Szucki would score in the second period for the Monarchs and that 3-2 lead would hold until the end of the period when Drew George scored with just under four minutes left in the period. Tied going into the third period, Kyle Ross would score on the power play early in the period to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game. Tyler Murray would score his second goal of the game with just over five minutes left and the game was tied 4-4. Liam Brennan would score with just over four minutes left and the Monarchs had the lead back at 5-4. With 51 seconds left in the third period Mike Reich would score his second goal of the game and put the game into overtime. In overtime at the 4:55 mark Reich would complete his hat trick and the Bulldogs would win the game 6-5 and the series 2-0. Ryan Senft stopped 29 shots for the Bulldogs and Matt Weninger stopped 53 shots in the Lumsden net. The Bulldogs now are the only team we have left in Provincials and will play the Radville Nationals in the south final.

The Strasbourg Maroons were defeated by the Gull Lake Greyhounds 10-0 and 6-1 and are out of Provincial ‘C’ playoffs.

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Semi-finals begin this week and we will have some more Provincial hockey next week. Please get out to a game near you!

Gerry Tomkins

President - HHL