Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Midget Huskies claim Spud League Playoff banner

2014/15 Spud League Midget League and Playoff Champions
Pincher Creek Midget Huskies
Chris Davis/Joey Jackson

Pincher Creek's Midget Huskies needed all three of the best of 3 Spud League Final Playoff games to defeat Bow Island's Rebels and earn the Playoff banner, but in the end they got the job done and head off to Provincials this weekend with both Spud League banners destined for the Memorial Community Centre rafters.

The Huskies had home ice advantage in the best of three.  On Saturday March 14 they hosted the Rebels at the MCC, with the Huskies winning that game by a definitive 7-2.  On Monday March 16 they travelled to Bow Island, with the Rebels winning that game 5-4.  Last night, March 17, the Huskies brought it back home for one last time this season to defeat the Rebels 5-3 in front of a packed house.

The first game of the series was a bit of a riot, as the two teams battled it out with a rare intensity.  There were more than 106 minutes in penalties handed out during the game, including six 10 minute misconducts. Nic Jordan of the Huskies got booted from the game with just under 9 minutes to go.  Tyson Goodreau (Huskies) and Ton Lamberts (Rebels) were sent to the box for 10 minutes for fighting. By the end of the game it was difficult to say whether or not either team's power play or penalty kill was better than the other's because it was confusing to the players, coaches, and crowd if there was a penalty called, missed, or if it was for the team they were cheering for.

Marc Sciarra (Huskies) hat trick

Marc Sciarra opened and closed the scoring for the Huskies and recorded a hat trick in the process. His first goal was a point blank shot that had no chance of missing, coming from a backdoor pass from Chase Snider.  His third goal was a little more lucky. The Rebels were applying some late game pressure and Marc seemed to be trying to get the puck into the offensive zone from the red line, it ricocheted off the arm of a Rebels defenceman, for a redirected trajectory straight into the net. The force is strong in that one.

Midget Huskies score on the Rebels

Levi Anderson scored two goals for the Huskies and also earned an assist. Craig Marshall and Sam Gerrand also scored for the Huskies. Jeremy Kretz had a rocky start in net for the Huskies, letting in a goal on the first shot against him, but after he got settled halfway through the first he let no more pucks past him.

Midget Rebels score on the Huskies

Tanner Florchinger was the Rebels' star player of the night.  Playing in goal, he faced a massive amount of shots, two on ones, and rockets from the blue line through traffic, and he tried his hardest to keep the Rebels in the game. Lukas Gessner scored for the Rebels to tie the game 1-1 early in the first and put the Rebels on the board, but soon after he scored teammate  Trevor Lengyel added another to give the Rebels their only lead of the game, which soon after slipped away.

Tyson Goodreau takes a shot
After losing 5-4 to the Rebels at the Bow Island rink, the Huskies returned to home ice for the final game of the series.  They got off to a terrific start, with Craig Marshall scoring a direct hit shortly after the first puck drop, just 17 seconds into the game, a reversal of the opening moments of the first game.  1-0 Huskies.  The Huskies kept the pressure on throughout the first period, peppering Rebels goalie Vance Fode with shots and keeping the puck well away from Huskies goalie Jeremy Kretz.  Their relentless assault resulted in a second goal at the 11:03 mark from Tyson Goodreau.  2-0 Huskies.  Then it was Derek Tarcon's turn.  He scored for the Huskies with 6:07 remaining in the period.  Then Levi Anderson made it 4-0, dinging one in with 4:28 remaining in the period.  That where it stood to the end of the period.

After a slow start to the second period, compared to the fire of the first, the Huskies again began to dominate the play for the middle part of the period.  Their momentum was dampened a little when the Huskies gathered some penalties that ultimately cost them. Rebel Austin Wickenheiser scored the first goal of the period, with 6:21 remaining, on the power play.  4-1.  Then it was Bow Island's turn to warm the penalty box bench, but the Huskies were unable to capitalize on a 5 on 3 power play that extended into the first few seconds of the third period.

March 17 scoring highlights

Both teams looked tired in the third period, and the pace of play slowed somewhat.  There was more back and forth than there had been in the first half of the game, but neither team made it to the scoreboard until Levi Anderson scored his second goal of the game for the Huskies.  5-1, and it was starting to look like it was in the bag for the Huskies.  Penalties again cost the Huskies when the Rebels capitalized on a power play, Austin Piper scoring with just 1:56 remaining to make it 5-2.  The Rebels pulled their goalie in the last minute of the game, and Derek Tarcon filled it with puck on a breakaway, with 32.8 seconds remaining.  Final score 6-2 Huskies.

With that the Huskies capped off an almost perfect Spud League season, winning the Playoff banner in addition to the League banner they received at the end of the regular season.

After a photo-op with their banners, Huskies Head Coach Kent Goodreau gave a brief speech acknowledging Huskies players finishing their final season in minor hockey, including Marc Sciarra, Derek Tarcon, and Captain Jared Koentges  "I can't say enough about these three guys," he said. "They each brought their own to the ice.  Personally I'd like to thank you for so many years of great excellent hockey.  It's not only been an honour to coach ya, it's been an honour to watch. Great hockey talent."

With that the Huskies did a victory lap around the rink with their new banner, and exited to the dressing room.  Warner goalie Briggs Ascione was on hand to congratulate them.  He will be the Huskies' netminder when the team heads to Kneehill this Thursday for the Alberta Provincial Tournament.

Briggs Ascione (left) congratulates the Huskies
Game 1

Game 2

Good luck at Provincials!

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