Dauphin, Canada

They’ve met twice in the past eight days. You can now add another to that as the Dauphin Kings and Swan Valley Stampeders will go to battle. 

It‘s the third meeting at the Centennial Arena and it‘s been all Stampeders in the first two. 

Dauphin got back at the Stamps this past weekend with a thrilling shootout win. 

The Kings will enter the game just six points behind the first place Portage Terriers who also play tonight.

So far, Dauphin (10-7-1) is 5-6 on the road, while Swan (12-2-1-1) is a perfect 9-0 on home ice. 

Eamonn Miller has been very good for Dauphin since coming to town. He has two goals in his three games with both coming against the teams Parkland rivals. 

Carter Sawchuk continues to lead the Kings with his 15 points. 

The Parkland Source for Sports pregame show hits the airwaves at 7:15.

Photo Credit - Dauphin Kings/Pederson Photographic.

The Gilbert Plains Trojans varsity boys volleyball team are the best team in their zone!

The Trojans won their Zone Championships earlier today by beating Ste. Rose, 25-24, 25-20 in the finals. 

Before the finals, GP beat Ebb & Flow and Rorketon. 

The team will now wait to find out where their Provincial Qualifier will be.

The Gilbert Plains Trojans varsity boys volleyball team are the best team in their zone!

The Trojans won their Zone Championships earlier today by beating Ste. Rose, 25-24, 25-20 in the finals. 

Before the finals, GP beat Ebb & Flow and Rorketon. 

The team will now wait to find out where their Provincial Qualifier will be.

I don't think things could get much better for the Gilbert Plains Trojans varsity girls volleyball team.

Two weeks ago they won the Swan River tournament. Last weekend they played very well in Brandon.

Today, they're Zone Champions! The team went through the round-robin of the zones earlier today without losing a set. The wins came against Grandview, Ste. Rose and Ebb & Flow.

In the finals, the Trojans dispatched of the Thunderbirds, 25-12, 25-9.

Gilbert will now host a Provincial Championship Qualifier next weekend at their gym.

Sunday was a day for the record books for a youngster from McCreary.

Playing his first year of Peewee hockey, Johnnie Parthenay scored a goal. That goal was Johnnie's first ever goal.

It came quickly as well. In a 4-4 tie against Brandon, Parthenay lit the twine just 14 seconds in. 

Brady Turko, Brody Fayant, and Ryan Gower scored the team's other goals.

Before that game, the Mustangs easily got past Hamiota, 7-3.

For Lawson Yates, his dream is to play in the Brier. As for all curlers in Canada, that's the goal. Most don't achieve that goal.

The Dauphinite is committed to giving it his all as he tries to achieve the feat, and his foursome made a step towards that this past weekend. They didn't win a big tournament, they didn't qualify for the Brier, but they proved to themselves that they could play with the big boys.

Lawson and his team played in the Dekalb Men's Superspiel in Morris, Manitoba that welcomes some of the best teams from across the globe. 

32 teams started the week with a goal of first qualifying for the playoffs. After an opening loss to Kirk Muyres, Lawson and the boys rallied off five straight wins to qualify for the playoffs.

In their quarterfinal matchup, the team came up just short against former Canadian Jr. Champion Braden Calvert. Calvert is also a former World Jr. Champion.

"It was absolutely awesome to qualify, we played very well in those five straight wins," said Yates. "A couple of the games we came out on the right side of the inch. I was very proud of our team and everyone played really well to get us there."

Before this season, it was primarily all junior events for the 18-year-old. This year that's about to change. The team will still play in junior events (with the exception of one player on the team), but the full foursome comprised of Chase Dusessoy, Zachary Wasylik, and Brett Walter will play a bunch on the men's circuit. Playing in Morris, the team already gained some valuable lessons.

"It's a totally different calibre of curling compared to the junior circuit,"  added Yates. "These guys are so much better with their strategy and shot execution. Hopefully, now, we can bring what we learned there to succeed at the junior level."

The foursome won't get much time off. They'll play in Minnedosa this weekend. The event could end up being a huge step towards making it to the Brier. A spot to the Viterra Championship will be on the line.

"After this past weekend our confidence is pretty high," said Yates. "We feel that we can for sure be a contender this weekend if all goes well."

"Right now, we're just hoping to play the same way we have throughout the start of the season," he added. "We're just looking to keep the same mindset and execution that we had this past weekend. If we do that, I think we can keep having success."

When Lawson looks back at what was a very successful weekend, it's easy to remember his favourite parts.

"Definitely qualifying for the playoffs was a special feeling for us," said Yates. "Also having the opportunity to play on arena ice. The only time you get that in Manitoba is at the Viterra Championships and at U21 Provincials. It was super cool to get the chance to play on arena ice and get the feel of it going forward."

Junior Level:

The team has already qualified for the U21 Provincial Championships in Melita in early January. 

"Our expectations are obviously pretty high after this past weekend," said Yates. "Winning the "Fall Berth" was super nice because we don't have to worry about qualifying last minute. That also gives us some confidence as well." 

Yates and two other members of the team who are eligible to play at the junior level will play in the Sun Life Junior Invitational in Brandon next weekend.

45491550 286853441934453 2538982269356343296 n

It was a Championship kind of weekend for Dauphin's Lane Prokopowich and her curling team.

The foursome won the inaugural Swan River MJCT Women's Bonspiel this past weekend.

"It felt really good to go back to the Parkland and curl with my team here," said Prokopowich. "I obviously curled a lot here when I was growing up and now I'm curling out of Winnipeg, so it was nice to come back and win this tournament."

It was already a great season before the team won this tournament, but now it's even better. Earlier this year, the foursome played in the Crystal Slam Series in Gatineau and performed very well.

By her own admission, this past weekend didn't start off great. But, Lane turned it on end by end and it sure showed.

"When we first started the bonspiel on Friday, the ice was hard to get used to so I struggled early on," she added. "Things definitely got better though as the ends went on and the ice got keener. We just had to communicate the times which we did, and that helped us."

The team has a busy schedule coming up. That begins this weekend in Petersfield. It's safe to say with the solid start to the season, the team has boatloads of confidence.

"We do have quite a bit of confidence for sure," said Prokopowich. "We know that we just have to stay positive and we can't think about the outcome so much. We're at our best when we're relaxed and just having fun with one another."

Staying positive is the number one thing the team has learned throughout the early season.

"Like if things don't go our way, we just have to shake it off," she added. "We need to learn from the mistakes we make because they happen. If we're down, we just need to pick up our socks and if we're up, we just have to keep it going."

The team will also curl in the Sun Life Brandon Invitational next weekend. That bonspiel will feature all of the best junior teams from across the province.

"That's going to be a really fun tournament to play in," said Prokopowich. "Not every team gets to play in it, so we're super excited. It should be a good challenge for us."

What a difference a year can make. Last year the Swan Valley Stampeders finished in 8th place in the MJHL and scored 206 goals through 60 games.

This year, the Stampeders are off to a torrid start (12-2-1-1) which is good enough for second place in the league and they've scored 83 goals which is second in the league. 

The Stamps are one point behind Portage for the top spot, but they have a far better winning percentage (.813 compared to Portage's .750).

So yeah, it's safe to say it's been a highlight year so far for the Stampeders. 

"We have a really good group of guys here that work hard and always want to compete," said Barry Wolff, Head Coach & General Manager. "We're having lots of success and it's always really nice to win games."

The Stampeders have three players in the top six in scoring. The trio of Josh Tripp, Matthew Osadick, and Quintin Sudom have combined for 78 points this season. That is more than any three players combined from any other team. 

"We just have guys that have the ability to find the back of the net when they shoot," said Wolff. "Usually every team has one of those guys, but we're lucky that we have a few of them. We've done a good job of moving our feet in the offensive zone and finding the open lanes and getting shots through when we can. We've also got some bounces around the paint so that's been an advantage to us as well."

In the team's last five games, they've put up at least 36 shots in three of them. That included a 50 shot game against Dauphin this past weekend and so many glorious chances. 

The Stamps also have been pretty good defensively. They've allowed just 49 goals which is second only to the Steinbach Pistons. Wolff notes there is always room for improvement, however.

"The defensive side of the game is always a work in progress," added Wolff. "Sometimes when you're scoring a lot, players get caught worrying about scoring and they don't get back and they lose battles. We'll keep working on it going forward."

Despite the clubs red-hot start, the Stamps haven't really built up any breathing room. Then again, no one in the league has. Just eight points separate first from eighth place in the league. Swan will play 11 more games this month and they know how important each and every one is if they hope to remain at the top of the MJHL.

"We've talked a lot about that this season here," said Wolff. "It seems that everyone is getting points on a nightly basis with overtime and shootouts. We don't want to look back at the end of the season and look at a game and think we should have won that, or if we won that one. Every game is super important."

"For us, it's one game at a time and that's what we're focusing on," he added. "We go out every night to get points and that's the bottom line."

As noted before, Josh Tripp is a third of the tremendous trio on top that leads the Stamps. This year could even go down as an extra special one. The 20-year-old is playing in his hometown and this is his final year as a junior hockey player. He's already got 28 points and will almost without a doubt smash his previous high in the MJHL. He had 47 points in the 2015-16 season. 

Let's not forget, those 28 points have come through just 16 games. Although it would be hard to continue with the pace he's playing at right now, if he did, Tripp would record well over 90 points this season. 

"Tripper has simply been unreal for us. He's one of those kids that can skate full speed with the puck and there aren't many players in any league that can do that," said Wolff. "His ability to score goals is second to none. He had a little bit of a slow start scoring goals, but he's been doing it a lot lately and we're hoping that continues."

Wolff, Tripp, and the rest of the Stampeders are now preparing for the fourth all Parkland battle of the season. The Stamps will welcome the Dauphin Kings to the Centennial Arena on Wednesday evening at 7:30. In the first three meetings, Swan won the first two but Dauphin rebounded this past weekend with a win at Credit Union Place.

Just five points will separate the teams heading into the game.

"They play hard, they work hard and they're well structured," said Wolff. "They have a really good group. Any of the games we've played against them could have gone either way. We were probably lucky to win two of the three so far. I like playing teams back to back, especially when it's good competition. I'm looking forward to playing Dauphin again."

The Stampeders have also been recognized nationally once again. After being ranked #7 in the CJHL Top-20 Rankings last week, the Stamps dropped one spot and are now ranked #8 in all of Canada.

With that being said, it isn't a stat really anyone in the Stamps organization worries about.

"I don't know who does it, but it really means nothing," added Wolff. "It's nice to get recognition, but it doesn't mean much. If we're still playing in May, we've had a good year."

Jaegar Lapointe has been asked to do a few things this season with the Parkland Midget Rangers.

Score goals and lead the team off the ice as the squad ices a fairly young roster. The 17-year-old Ste. Rose native has done that and so much more so far this campaign.

Although Jaegar and the rest of the Rangers are 4-10 this season, they are coming off one of their biggest wins in recent team history. 

"We've definitely had our ups and downs so far this season," said Lapointe. "But this past weekend was definitely a big positive for us. We're hoping to continue doing what we did this past weekend going forward, and I guess we'll see where it takes us."

The clubs win against the (9-3-1) Thrashers yesterday was the team's only win against any team above .500 this season. Before yesterday, the Rangers were outscored 70-14 as they went 0-9 against teams with a winning record.

As he mentioned before, Jaegar is hoping this past weekend is a stepping stone for the team as they look to make a run.

"It was plain and simple our best hockey we've played all season long," said Lapointe. "Even those two losses against Kenora, we competed really hard. It was just a solid weekend for us."

What was different? The complete level.

"A big thing was our urgency to pucks and everyone showing up and wanting to play hard," he added. "It just felt like we were flying out there and playing with a lot of passion."

Of course, Lapointe has been a stud offensively this season. He had eight goals going into yesterday's contest in 13 games. You can now make that 11 goals as the 17-year-old recorded his first hat-trick of the season in the game.

"It definitely felt great," said Lapointe. "I couldn't have done it without my linemates though. They worked really hard to get me the puck and I was just able to capitalize."

In total this season, Jaegar has 20 points in 14 games. 

"I'm pretty happy with what I've done so far," added Lapointe. "I'm feeling good, but it's not all about me. The thing that really matters is the team winning. Of course, I want to score, but I want this team to win."

The Rangers will now have a couple practices this week to prepare for another tough weekend. They'll play Southwest on Friday on the road. That's followed with a game in Roblin on Sunday against Pembina Valley.

It's early in the season. But, Jaegar knows it's important to get on a roll now because it's always easier to get points early in the season compared to later. Right now, the Rangers are six points out of a playoff spot.

"It's a very important weekend for us absolutely," added Lapointe. "If we can play as we did against the Thrashers, I think we have a good chance to win these games."

He's a Ranger for now. But, with this being Jaegar's final year as a AAA hockey player, he knows what could be ahead. He nearly made the Neepawa Natives out of training camp. 

As he looks to continue shining for the Rangers, the 17-year-old will continue working on a few things so he can make it to the next level.

"I have to get quicker, work on my strength," said Lapointe. "Pretty much just all the basics. I feel I can definitely make it to the next level if I work on those things."

Fun Fact:

The Rangers have four wins this season. In those four wins, Lapointe has seven goals and two assists. So it's safe to say when the Rangers are winning, Lapointe is scoring and doing what he can to help the team win games.

It's early in the season, but Dauphin's Breken Brezden is already a silver medallist.

The 12-year-old won silver this past weekend at the Manitoba Figure Skating Sectionals in the 16 & Under age group.

That means that Breken has earned her spot in the National Challenge in Edmonton later this month.

"I'm super excited that I won a silver medal at the sectionals," added Brezden. "It's definitely a really big accomplishment and now I can't wait to head to Edmonton."

Winning the medal required a lot of hard work and well, a ton of road trips as well.

"Everything involved a lot of driving to Virden and Brandon and a ton of training," said Brezden. "I knew I was doing really good in training. I knew I had to skate like I was training in the past few weeks and that's what I did."

Yes, Breken is the one doing amazing things on the ice. But, she wouldn't be able to without the support of her coaches and of course family and friends.

"I have to thank my coaches Patti Hole and Donna Drysdale who's from here in Dauphin and Tammy McKay from Brandon," said Brezden. "They push me and teach me so much. I also have to thank all of my family and of course my teachers, because I miss some school during the week."

With this past weekend in her rear-view mirror, Breken will now focus on the National Challenge. An event that will welcome all of the best figure skaters from across the country. The 12-year-old knows it won't be easy, but she also knows how she can have success.

"To be successful I really want to see if I can start landing and have a consistent double axle," added Brezden. "If it's executed well, it's worth a lot of points. It can really separate you from the other competitors, so that's what I'm really going to work hard on."

Breken already knows what it feels like to get high scores. In her short skate on Saturday, she scored a personal best 27.17 points. She followed that up with a personal best in the free skate yesterday. Her score was 50.88 points.

All in all, Breken does have a tough task ahead of her in Edmonton. Being just 12, she'll be skating against girls a few years older than her in the Pre-Novice category. With that being said, Breken is confident in herself.

"I just have to trust myself out there because I know things have been going really well," she added. "I've been progressing so I just have to put my best foot forward all the time and give it all I can."

The Challenge will also be a tryout of sorts. After the event, two skaters will be chosen to represent Manitoba at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in February in Red Deer, Alberta.

Pressure on the 12-year-old?

"I mean getting to the CWG is my ultimate goal for sure," said Brezden. "I don't think there's going to be any pressure on me. If I do what I know I can, I think I have a pretty good chance. It's all about having a positive mindset."

They started 0-2, they won on Friday and tonight, the Dauphin Clippers hockey team smashed Sandy Bay. 

The final score was 14-2.

Keanu Woodhouse and Riley Hammond both had two goals in the first for Dauphin. 

In the second, Wade Kopytko, Logan Storey, and Brayden Broome scored for the Clippers. 

Broome scored three more times in the third to cap off an incredible four goal game. 

Riley Hammond, Wade Kopytko, Logan Conrad, and Noah Wiens all added one in the third for the Clippers in the huge win. 

More local scores: 

Bantam Grand Plains Ice Dogs lost to Souris Elks, 6-3.

Jayselyn Nybo led the Ice Dogs with two goals. 

Brooke Minshull scored the team's other goal. 

Parkland Super League of Curling:

Richardson Pioneer skipped by Greg Todoruk beat Oil Depot skipped by Jim Todoruk, 9-3.

Nutrien AG Solutions skipped by Glenn Toews beat Duck Mountain Tire skipped by Brian Preston, 7-4.

Turko Fertilizer skipped by Kyle Forsyth beat South Fork AG Services skipped by Lorne Orpin, 7-1.

Russell Murray beat C. Bergen Service skipped by Tyson Beyak, 5-4.