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(Parkland teams are bold)

It was a busy weekend for Hockey Manitoba as they hosted provincial championships across the province and the Parkland was all over the action.

At the U15B event in Russell, a team from the Parkland was able to defend their home region as Swan Valley beat Wawanesa in the gold medal game, 4-2. Rylan Laderouette scored a pair of goals for Swan Valley while Kennedy Baskier, and Walker Atkinson also scored for the Stampeders in the victory.

In Gilbert Plains at the U11 A event, Bennett Harness had the hot stick as he scored four times for Swan Valley as they beat Flin Flon, 6-5, in a thrilling bronze medal match. 

Over in Portage la Prairie, the Dauphin U11 AA Kings came up short against Winkler in the gold medal game, 2-0. Dauphin beat Brandon, Mitchell, and MacDonald in their other games to reach the gold medal game. 

After winning their first two round-robin games, the U18 female Grand Plains Ice Dogs came up short in the bronze medal game as they lost to Hamiota/Rivers, 5-2.

At the provincial held in Dauphin at Credit Union Place and the Rotary Arena, Morden beat Stonewall, 5-4, in an outstanding gold medal game. Springfield blanked Portage, 4-0, to win the bronze medal game. 

The Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy U15 Kings won the Tournament of Champions earlier this year for Myles Haverluck.

On Sunday, they were playing for a provincial championship. Playing in St. Agathe, Ben Miner was exceptional between the pipes and the team's offence came up clutch when they needed to as they downed Rivers, 4-2, to claim a provincial title. 

The title winning game capped off a perfect weekend for the team. After a tournament opening tie against Flin Flon, Dauphin beat Peguis, Springfield, and Niverville. 

Garrett Sahulka led the way for Dauphin as he scored a pair of goals in the final, one of which was the game winner. Dominic Chartrand and Lyric Smith also scored for the Kings. 

"This year's team definitely had its skill spread over our three full lines," said Aaron Miner. "We were able to wear the other teams down by using them all equally."

Before Mother Nature unleashes a blanket of snow on much of the Parkland, the Predators U17 girls volleyball team unleashed their skills in Dauphin.

Playing in a tournament hosted by the Vipers on Saturday, the Predators cruised through the entire tournament, not dropping a match, as they were crowed tournament champions.

In their round-robin, the Predators beat Russell, Vipers 16U, along with Vipers 17U. They then handled Russell in the final in straight sets as they improved to 12-3 on the season.

They're off to Winnipeg next weekend for a second Premier tournament after a fifth place finish in the first Premier tournament that they played in earlier this season. 

The Parkland will be a busy region when it comes to provincial championships over the weekend.

Dauphin is just one of the communities that will host a provincial hockey tournament. Below are more details on where you can catch the action live.

(FINAL SCORES ARE BOLD)

U11 AA - Dauphin Kings in Portage la Prairie
Friday - 5:00 p.m. vs Brandon - Dauphin beat Brandon, 4-0
Saturday - 10:45 a.m. vs Mitchell - Dauphin beat Mitchell, 3-2

U11 A - Grand Plains hosting
Friday - 10:00 a.m. vs La Broquerie - Grand Plains lost, 8-2
Friday - 6:45 p.m. vs Flin Flon - Grand Plains lost, 8-7
Saturday - 3:15 p.m. vs St. Claude - Grand Plains wins, 5-0

U11 A - Swan Valley in Grandview/Gilbert Plains
Friday - 1:30 p.m. vs Neepawa - Swan Valley won, 7-4
Saturday - 10:00 a.m. vs Gimli - Swan Valley won, 13-2 
Saturday - 5:00 p.m. vs Virden - Swan Valley tied, 2-2

U11 B - Russell at Notre Dame Minor Hockey
Friday - 3:15 p.m. vs Lac Du Bonnet - Russell won, 6-1
Saturday - 11:45 a.m. vs Hartney - Russell won, 6-5
Saturday - 5:00 p.m. vs Pembina Valley - Russell won, 10-5

U11 C - McCreary at Rivers Minor Hockey
Friday - 11:45 a.m. vs Pinawa - McCreary won, 20-0
Friday - 7:00 p.m. vs Rivers - McCreary, won 5-3
Saturday - 1:30 p.m. vs Deloraine - McCreary won, 3-0

U11 A1 - Dauphin hosting
Friday - 10:00 a.m. vs The Pas - Dauphin tied The Pas, 5-5
Friday - 2:15 p.m. vs Morden -  Dauphin lost, 11-1

U11 A1 - Swan Valley at Dauphin Minor Hockey
Friday - 11:15 a.m. vs Neepawa - Swan Valley lost, 6-1
Saturday - 10:15 a.m. vs Springfield - Swan Valley lost, 19-0

U13 B Female - Grand Plains at Deloraine
Friday - 10:30 a.m. vs Elkhorn - Grand Plains won, 2-1
Friday - 4:30 p.m. vs Rat River - Grand Plains won, 2-0 
Saturday - 1:30 p.m. vs Stonewall - Grand Plains won, 5-1

U15 A - Dauphin in Niverville
Friday - 3:15 p.m. vs Flin Flon - Dauphin tied Flin Flon, 2-2
Saturday - 11:45 a.m. vs Peguis - Dauphin won, 15-2
Saturday - 5:00 p.m. vs Springfield - Dauphin won, 6-1

U15 C - Roblin at Warren Minor Hockey
Friday - 5:00 p.m. vs Notre Dame - Roblin won, 6-2
Saturday - 10:45 a.m. vs St. Adolphe - Roblin won, 9-1

U18 Female - Grand Plains in Glenboro
Friday - 3:15 p.m. vs Cross Lake - Grand Plains Ice Dogs won, 21-1
Saturday - 9:00 a.m. vs Birtle - Grand Plains Ice Dogs won, 3-1

The Dauphin Kings avoided a major upset on Friday evening.

It took extra time, but it counts all the same as Dauphin downed the Winnipeg Freeze, 4-3. With the win, Dauphin won their 34th game of the season and completed a season sweep of the Freeze. Dauphin also moved to 10-0 all-time against Winnipeg since they entered the league.

Logan Walker scored the game-winning goal late in overtime for Dauphin as they won their second straight game. He also scored a goal in regulation while Jordan Bax and Cayden Glover also scored for Dauphin.

Austin Seibel won his second straight start, stopping 18 shots in the game. Dauphin will now head to The Pas on Sunday to play the Blizzard. If that game is a go, Darnell Duff will broadcast it at 7:00 p.m. 

For the first time, Nathan Zadorozny is getting an opportunity to coach the sport he loves at a provincial event.

Leading the Ste. Rose Celtics junior varsity basketball team into their inter-zone game against Hamiota earlier this week, the Celtics came out on top in dominating fashion by a final score of 69-52.

"I'm very proud of these boys, they are a group of young and dedicated athletes," said Zadorozny. 

The win earned the team a spot in the provincial championships that will take place next weekend in Winnipeg. Nathan will be in Wawanesa on Saturday as the varsity Celtics looks to advance to the provincials at a qualifier.

The big dance is about to begin for eight teams in the Manitoba U18 AAA Hockey League on Friday as the playoffs are set to begin.

#1 Brandon Wheat Kings (regular season record - 43-0-1)
vs
#8 Eastman Selects (regular season record - 20-23-0-1)

The Brandon Wheat Kings were in a class of their own this season. They suffered just one overtime loss to Southwest and never tasted defeat in regulation. From top to bottom, the Wheat Kings are filled with elite talent and future junior players. This includes Jaxon Jacobson, who at just 15 years of age, led the league with 106 points. He recorded the fourth most points in league history and he also posted six points in six games with the WHL's Wheat Kings. 

Brandon also features Brady Turko of McCreary who had 90 points in the regular season and Easton Odut of Dauphin, who also had an all-star season. In four regular-season meetings with Eastman, the Wheat Kings scored 33 games and gave up just nine goals. 

Eastman had to wait until the final day of the regular season to make the playoffs. They had to beat Parkland in their final game and hoped that Norman would lose their last game. Both of those things happen and that's why Eastman will be looking to pull off one of the biggest upsets in league history. 

Winning 20 games in the regular season, Eastman used a pretty balanced offence to find success. They were led by Calyb Moore and his 50 points, five other players recorded at least 31 points. Eastman's biggest challenge will be keeping the puck out of their net as they go up against Goliath.

Duffy's Prediction: This isn't even close. Wheat Kings easily get past Eastman in three games. 

#2 Southwest Cougars (regular season record - 27-13-2-2)
vs
#7 Pembina Valley Hawks (regular season record - 20-16-4-4)

This very well could go down as the best first-round series despite it being a second seed going up against a seventh seed. While Southwest won all four games against Pembina Valley, two of the three were one-goal contests and they haven't played since November 18.

Pembina Valley also enters the playoffs as the second hottest team in the league, winning eight of their final 10 games of the regular season. Only Brandon (10-0) was better over their final 10 games. Both teams are also in the same region which will amp things up as the rivals go head-to-head in a best-of-five. 

Jack Clark enters the series as Southwest's top point producer after a 49-point campaign while Acoyen Fehr had 44 to average a point-per-game for Pembina Valley. 

Duffy's Prediction:  Throw out the seeding heading into this series. This will be a dandy of a series. Pembina Valley continues their hot play and pulls off the upset in four games, fans will be in for a treat. 

#3 Winnipeg Wild (regular season record - 27-13-3-1)
vs
#6 Interlake Lightning (regular season record - 24-17-3)

Just like it will be a great series between Southwest and Pembina Valley, this series is another one that fans should be watching out for. It's the Interlake Lighting, who have not enjoyed any playoff success as of late, against a team that are always contenders to win a championship. 

While the Wild are thought to be one of the only teams that could perhaps contend with Brandon, they certainly can't take it easy on the Lightning. Interlake has one of the top goalies in the league in Dylan McFadyen, who has practiced regularly and even traveled with the WHL's Wheat Kings this year. He has a 2.94 goals-against average to go along with a .913 save percentage. Without a doubt, Dylan has the skill to steal a game, we will soon find out if he can steal a series. 

Interlake also does possess a pretty potent offence with Ian Buors leading the way with 51 points while Morgan Waddell and Brandon Burak both finished with 40 points. 

When it comes to the Wild, this is an organization that knows how to get it done in the playoffs. That proves valuable, but this hasn't been the same Wild team as in the past. With that said, they still won 27 games this year and won six of their last 10 contests.

Jacob Armstrong started 29 games in net for the Wild and won 17 of them. Carter Kingerski and his 52 points led the club with Cole Babych being second in team scoring with 18 goals and 19 assists.

They played four times in the regular season, all four games ended in a 3-1 scoreline with the Wild winning three of them.

Duffy's Prediction: Buckle up folks and get ready to go the distance. Interlake provides an upset as they beat the Wild at the Hockey for All Centre in game five, thanks to a tremendous series from Dylan McFadyen and some timely scoring.

#4 Winnipeg Thrashers (regular season record - 26-17-1)
vs
#5 Winnipeg Bruins (regular season record - 24-15-3-2)

This could go down as another classic. Both teams finished the season with 53 points, but the Thrashers got home-ice advantage because they finished with 26 wins compared to the Bruins's 24. 

Rohan Guevarra had an excellent season to pace the Thrashers offensive prowess with 62 points as he finished in a tie for fifth in league scoring. Maxx Hamelin wasn't far behind for the Bruins as he recorded 58 points with Carson White finishing the campaign with 45 and in all, six members of the Bruins had recorded at least 30 points.

Where the Bruins get the slight edge in this series is between the pipes. Both Taye Timmerman and Austin Kindrat had a goals-against average above 3.00 and Timmerman's save percentage was just subpar at .905 while Kindrat's was .874. It's just a slight edge; however, as the Bruins Justin Perreault and Leyton Medwick both struggled at times as well for the Bruins. This would explain why so many goals were scored across four regular-season meetings between the two teams. 

21 goals were scored by the Thrashers while the Bruins responded with 16, the Thrashers won three of four meetings.

Duffy's Prediction: Defence is not the name of the game in this series, although it does tighten up a bit from the regular-season. The Thrashers win in four games. 

Tyron Sweetman put the Dauphin Clippers on his shoulders Thursday evening and he lifted them to the next round.

Playing Killarney in game two of their first round series, Sweetman scored four times in a 5-2 victory against the Raiders.

Dauphin swept Killarney as a result and will now await their second round opponent. Liam Chartrand also scored for Dauphin in the win. 

It was a series that came right down to the wire, the Parkland U15 Rangers were looking to pull off what would have been a major upset. 

Heading into their first-round playoff series, the Rangers were heavy underdogs against the Wild after they were outscored 14-6 by them in a pair of regular season games. The Wild opened up the best of five with a win at the Hockey for All Centre and then, the Rangers caught fire as they won back-to-back games. The first of which came in Winnipeg and then back in Swan River for game three, Parkland took a 7-2 victory to put the Wild Red on the brink of elimination.

With a chance to move onto the second round in game 4 in McCreary, Fynn Huberdeau scored an even-strength goal with just 1:52 left in the third period to force overtime. Mark Munday of the Wild Red scored 9:13 into the first overtime to force a fifth and deciding game.

In that game, Dayson Martin put the Rangers up 1-0 after 20 minutes; however, the Rangers struggled in their end during the second period as they gave up six goals and trailed 6-3 after 40 minutes.

In desperation mode to start the third, Parkland scored two quick goals to trim the deficit to one. Ultimately, the Rangers would not get any closer as they lost the game 9-6 as they saw their season come to an end in Manitoba's capital.

With the off-season now here, Matt Kustra wants to thank all of the team's amazing supporters throughout the season especially the fans that cheered on the team during their two home playoff games in Swan River and McCreary.

"It felt like we were back at a big junior playoff game," said Kustra. "You could hear the fans, they were so excited all game. Our players fed off that energy and were talking about it after the game. It was a pretty special atmosphere to be a part of and I want to thank all the fans for coming out, it meant a lot to all of us."

As Matt now reflects on the 2023-24 season and everything that it brought, one play will stick out to him. The Wild Red had just scored a couple of minutes before cutting Parkland's lead to 3-1 in the first period of game 3.

Noah Smigelsky lost his stick in the offensive zone and going up against three members of the Wild Red in the corner, Smigelsky found a way to kick the puck free in front of the net where Dayson Martin was waiting and with just one second left in the first, Martin found the back of the net to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead after 20 minutes and they never looked back in a 7-2 win.

"Wild Red was deflated after that and we just took it from there," ended Kustra. "I've been around the game for many years and I have never seen a player with no stick make a play like that and see it translate to a goal with just a second left. I was jumping up and down, it was incredible."

The 2023-24 edition of the Parkland U15 Rangers provided plenty of excitement for fans across the region and now, the countdown to the 2024-25 season begins. 

The Dauphin Kings racked up 48 shots and completed a season sweep of their Parkland rivals in the process.

Playing their sixth and final game of the season against the Swan Valley Stampeders of the season on Wednesday afternoon, Dauphin responded after Tuesday's tough loss as they beat the Stampeders, 4-1, in front of an incredible crowd as the Stampeders hosted their school game at the Centennial Arena.

With the win, Dauphin moved to 33-14-1-1 and they also moved with two points of the Blizzard for second place in the West Division and Dauphin does have two games in hand.

The Kings scored two goals while on the man advantage Wednesday with two goals, one of which came from Cayden Glover and the other from Alex Senf. Havryil Simchuk scored Dauphin's other goal while Senf finished with one other.

Getting the start between the pipes, Austin Seibel was excellent between the pipes as he made 22 saves. Dauphin will return home to welcome the Freeze to town on Friday before heading to The Pas to play the Blizzard on Sunday evening. 

The Blizzard played great, the Kings proved to be no match for them on Tuesday. 

Dauphin had just 15 shots in a 4-0 loss, a key defeat for the Kings as they look to chase down the Blizzard for second place in the West.

Cole Sheffield was the lone bright spot for Dauphin as he made 41 saves. The Kings are now four points back of the Blizz for second in the West with a pair of games in hand. 

Dauphin now plays Swan Valley on Friday.