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Some people would say the two top goaltenders in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League will go head-to-head in a best-of-seven playoff series.

Some would disagree, but regardless of whether you do or don't, Cole Sheffield will go up against Tomas Anderson. Round one between the Kings and Blizzard gets underway on Friday night at the Roy H Johnston Arena in the Pas. The two teams split their season series as Dauphin won three games as did the Blizzard.

Game two of the series will return to Dauphin on Sunday afternoon.

 REGULAR SEASON SERIES

The 14U Predators continue to impress on the court.

In their most recent performance, the team finished in third place out of 32 going up against some of the best teams in the province. At the BVC tournament in Brandon, the team opened up play with wins against Offspeed and the Power Phantoms as the Parkland-based club finished first in their pool.

The Predators then beat the Regina Cougars in straight sets before a thrilling 28-26 and 27-25 quarterfinal win against Pilots Navy. The team's run to a title ended in the semi-finals as they lost to Club West Rage in three sets; however, the Predators responded to come home with medals as they beat Empire Blue in three-sets in the bronze medal match.

Next up for the Predators is an exhibition match against the Parkland Vipers before they head to Winnipeg for the Bandits tournament at the end of the month. 

 

They showed up to practice early and once it was time to fine-tune their skills and develop, they were ready to go.

When it came to game day, they came to the rink with their game faces on and gave it their all. The 2023-24 edition of the Russell U11 Rams hockey team was a group that pushed themselves to their limits. Whether it was winning a game or coming up short, the Rams never gave up.

"It's a complete team, everyone works hard and everyone on our team played a role," said Will Moncrief, head coach. "It was a pleasure to coach them, everyone wanted to learn and grow."

It also turned out to be a season to remember for Russell. With a provincial title on the line back on March 3, Brixton Desaulniers scored three times and added five assists for an incredible eight-point showing as the Rams won a provincial title with a convincing 10-5 win against Miami.

Ethan Katchin had two goals in the game as did Tavrey Reichmuth while Lucas Moncrief had one goal and four assists and John Bryer won the game between the pipes.

"They were a very excited group when the final buzzer went, gloves and sticks went flying," offered Moncrief. "It was a great experience to be a part of and I know all of our players and myself included will never forget about that moment."

Following their run to a provincial title, the Rams wrapped up their season in the Parkissimo League, and what a finish it was. After going 10-1 in the regular season, Russell beat Shoal Lake/ Birtle in the first round to advance to the finals.

In the championship series against Neepawa C, the Rams made quick work of Neepawa as they won the series in two straight. In two weeks, Russell won a provincial championship banner and now, they won a league championship banner.

"It was a great way to end the season," ended Moncrief. "We always have some great games against Neepawa and it was no different during our playoff series against them. It was a great season for our group, I am so proud of each and every player for all the work they put in."

The Dauphin Kings wrapped up their season by winning a fourth straight contest.

Playing their regular season finale, Dauphin ended up cruising against the Steelers in a 6-3 win. Paired with a Niverville win, the Steelers have been eliminated from playoff action. 

Logan Walker led the way for Dauphin as he scored three times in the victory. Havryil Simchuk, Cayden Glover, and Madden Murray also scored for Dauphin. 

Dauphin will open their first round playoff series against the Blizzard on Friday. In the meantime, get set for the playoff primer hosted by Darnell Duff and he will be joined by Jeff Henson from 8:15 to 11:00 on Wednesday. 

They already won a provincial title and now, the Dauphin U13 A Kings are league champions.

Playing Brandon in a best of three championship series and coming down to the wire, the Kings beat Brandon on Friday, 5-3, to win the league this year. It was a response win after Brandon won game two following Dauphin's dramatic 6-5 overtime victory in the first game of the season.

In the team's second round, Dauphin beat Grand Plains in three games and they also beat Russell in three games in the first round. 

The Dauphin Kings will look to replicate how they played in the third period on Friday night.

The Kings looked very impressive in the final frame against the Blues as they outshot them by 16, allowing only four against and Dauphin scored three times in the frame.

Ultimately they downed the lowly Blues, 5-2, to win their third game in a row. It was Dauphin's 37th win of the season; however, paired with a Blizzard victory against the Wolverines, Dauphin will finish the regular season at third in the West. The Blizzard are second and will host game one against Dauphin in a best of seven first-round playoff series.

Kyan Grouette, Gabriel Bugeaud, Joshua Schmidt, Ashton Paul, and Jordan Bax scored for Dauphin, who were dealt a blow as Bax went down with a lower-body injury in the third period and his timeline a return is unknown.

The Kings will wrap up their regular-season on Saturday against Selkirk. Friday was also a special event as Sam Swanton made his debut.

Harper Rudkavich is having the time of her life and the Parkland Gators Swim Club is one of the reasons why.

With the club for her second year in the pool, Harper's favourite event is the 50m freestyle and one of her most enjoyable parts of getting the chance to swim with the Gators is making new friends from other teams that the club goes up against.

As the Gators season continues in the pool, Harper is also very driven to achieve one of her biggest goals.

"My goal is to get faster at backstroke, it's something I am working very hard towards," said Rudkavich of Dauphin.

In a recent meet in Brandon, Harper put together an extremely impressive event. She finished fifth in the 25m kickstroke event and she racked up a pair of silver medals finishing second in the 25m freestyle and 50m freestyle. Harper also finished with a bronze medal in the 25m backstroke race.

As the snow begins to disappear, Harper is also looking forward to spending plenty of time on the pitch this summer. Harper plays within the Dauphin Soccer Association as the sport is one of her passions.

"I'm a fast runner and that's one of the key things in soccer, you have to be fast," ended Rudkavich.

When it comes down to a nice post-swim meal, Harper loves heading to Subway. 

When the Dauphin Kings signed Austin Seibel ahead of the current season, they knew they were getting a great man off the ice and on the ice, Seibel has made a great name for himself.

Back in the 2019-20 season, Seibel was named the Most Valuable Player on the Vernon Vipers U15 team and he was also named Vernon Vipers Minor Hockey Goalie of the Year. Seibel, who was born in Salmon Arm, B.C., and grew up in Coldstream, then went the prep hockey route as he played two seasons with the Prairie Hockey Academy U16 and U17 programs. 

That led Seibel to the North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League last year and Seibel put together an impressive year. In 29 regular season games, Seibel posted 16 wins, a 2.95 goals-against average to go along with a .926 save percentage. For his efforts, Seibel was named the league's Rookie of the Year. 

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Just one season is all Austin spent with the Knights as he joined the Kings for this season.

"Everything has been great here, I'm loving the guys, and I'm loving the organization," said Seibel. "I'm pushing myself and I'm getting better every day, things are going great."

Playing as a backup to second-team all-star Cole Sheffield, Austin has embraced his role with the team as they enter their final weekend of the regular season.

"That's a part of growth, I'm here for a reason and that's to get better," offered Seibel. "I head to the rink every day with a positive attitude, I think that's the most important thing."

Before Wednesday's game against the Blizzard, one that Seibel dazzled in, he had eight wins in his first 13 starts as a King. 

"I think I have done pretty well, I'm always striving to be perfect," said Seibel. "I'm glad with how I am doing and I'm also glad that I am starting to see more success with all of the work that I am putting in."

On Wednesday, Austin put on a show as he turned away all 39 shots he faced as Dauphin shutout the Blizzard, 2-0. It was Dauphin's second straight win and it was Austin's first shutout in his Junior A career. His goaltending partner Sheffield grabbed the game puck and it was one that Seibel will always keep and cherish.

The win brought Dauphin within three points of the Blizzard for second in the West and that means the Kings still have a chance of earning home-ice advantage for the first round of the Turnbull Cup playoffs. 

"It felt amazing, I'm super happy for myself and the entire group," offered Seibel. "We knew we could build momentum by winning that game. We all came together for a team win, I was super happy and proud of our group."

Dauphin now heads out on their final road trip of the season as they play the Blues at the Hockey for All Centre on Friday and the team's regular season ends on Saturday in Selkirk against the Steelers.

With 36 wins on the campaign, Dauphin has already surpassed last year's win total when they secured 32 wins, and they will now push to finish out the regular season strong ahead of the playoffs which open up next Friday against the Blizzard.

"We're getting excited, this is when the real work starts and the real good times," ended Seibel. "We're really focusing on becoming more consistent these next two games and hopefully, that leads us in a good way into the playoffs."

Get to know Seibel:

What are some of your hobbies? I like fishing, hiking, and going to the beach. I'm also a pretty big golfer and enjoy camping, being outside with friends is always great.

Tell us about your childhood: I went to school in Coldstream and that's where all my memories are from. I started playing hockey there and eventually moved to Saskatchewan for a couple of years and now I'm in Dauphin.

Was there one defining moment that pushed you to play hockey or multiple? I would say multiple. I grew up with my dad being a goalie and many of my friends were, making me want to become a goalie. I have loved the game ever since. I'm just trying to be the best I can be and have some fun with it.

Who has been by your side every step along the way? Both of my parents are both extremely supportive, and I wouldn't be where I am without them.  

Do you try and craft your game around any other goaltender? I would say Devon Levi who is now playing in the American Hockey League and Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks are two guys. 

You can hear Austin Seibel's full chat with Darnell Duff during the Dauphin Kings Power Play show on Friday afternoon following news, weather, business, and sports at 4:10 p.m. 

The Dauphin Clippers will have to wait another year to win a championship.

After a heartbreaking overtime loss in game one of their league semi-final against the Neepawa Tigers, the Clippers had game two tied at two after a slow start; however, it wasn't to be for the home team.

Dauphin saw their season come to an end with a 5-2 loss to the Tigers who advanced to the league final with the victory. 

Stay tuned in the coming days as Darnell Duff will be joined by Jason Alf who will wrap up the season. 

It was only his 14th Junior A start, but Austin Seibel looked like a grizzled veteran on Wednesday evening.

Playing their final regular season game against the Blizzard, the Kings downed and shutout the Blizzard, 2-0, in front of a solid crowd at the Roy H. Johnston Arena.

Seibel turned away 39 shots to record his first shutout and he made several incredible saves along the way. Even though Dauphin was playing without Jordan Bax, Cayden Glover, and Ashton Paul, they found a way to earn two points. Ethan Williment scored the game winner while Madden Murray also found the back of the net for Dauphin.

With the victory, the Kings won their 36th game of the season and they're now three points back of the Blizzard for second place in the West Division. Dauphin can still get home ice advantage for the first round if they are to win their final two games this weekend and the Blizzard have to lose their final two.

The Oil Capitals beat Winkler on Wednesday which means Dauphin will officially play the Blizzard in the first round of the Turnbull Cup playoffs which are slated to get underway next Friday. 

 

Winning one championship throughout a hockey season is impressive. Winning two is an incredible feat while winning three is something that rarely happens.

Winning four titles in one year is almost unheard of, but don't tell the Roblin U15 Stars that because they have achieved the feat. It was a season for the history books for the U15 program from the Jewel of the Parkland that was led by Jarrett Newton.

The group started playing together when members of the team were five, the team started with 22 players, and about eight years later, 17 players are still going strong and all of their incredible hard work has not gone unnoticed. Their hard work will forever be remembered as they hang up four banners at the Roblin & District Centennial Arena. 

"It's been an incredible run for this group, very special to be a part of," said Newton. "Still having 17 players from when we first started is a testament to the kids committment to getting better and representing their community. It's a fairy tale ending for the grade 9 players on our team that will now be moving up."

Going up against some of the best the province has to offer at the U15 age group, the Stars rarely lost a game throughout the season and when they did, they remained focused and bounced back the next game. They also trailed by multiple goals in games and their never-give-up attitude allowed them to cap off some incredible comebacks throughout the year. 

They won a Tournament of Champions (TOC) event in Carberry, their home tournament, the Parkissimo League, and just recently, a provincial championship. To say it's been a great few months would be an understatement and Newton has enjoyed every step of the journey.

"We had three lines and one goalie, he played outstanding all season long," said Newton. "Our players were a very competitive group, they hated missing practices. They would be at practice like an hour early so they could just hang out, they were a pretty unique group. It was an unbelievable ride to work with these guys."

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While this season has now come to an end for the group, Newton will continue to share how much work these players put in. Winning championships isn't for everyone, but it is certainly for every member of the 2023-24 Roblin U15 Stars hockey team.

"We accomplished so much throughout the season, to see the growth from each and every player on our season, it was remarkable," ended Newton. "It took an amazing team effort to achieve what we did this year and each and every player should be extremely proud of themselves, I know I am."