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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."

The Dauphin Kings went to work early and often on Tuesday night.

Playing their fourth last game of the regular season, the Kings took care of business in a commanding 7-3 win against Portage. 

With the win, Dauphin won their season series with Portage, winning three of four games. 

Jordan Bax and Trey Gnetz led the way for Dauphin as they both scored a pair of goals while Charlie Sandven, Ethan Williment, and Rylan Gage also scored for Dauphin. 

Cole Sheffield was brilliant as he made 33 saves in the win. 

The Kings will now head to The Pas on Wednesday and Darnell Duff will broadcast the game. 

The Neepawa Titans' push to the 2024 Turnbull Cup playoffs continues on Tuesday night when the club makes their final season trip to Winnipeg to play the Blues.

Sitting at 26-27-1 entering a very busy final week for the club, they currently occupy the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division and the Titans are in a good place. Entering Tuesday's contest five points up on Waywayseecappo with four games remaining, the scenario is quite simple for the Titans. 

Even if Waywayseecappo were to win their final four games of the season, all the Titans need is three points over their final four games to clinch the final spot in the Wicked West. The Titans have been taking care of business as of late with wins in five of their last seven games.

"It's an exciting time of the year, we've had some pretty intense practices here to prepare ourselves for what's next," said Pearson. 

Neepawa has been a team of ups and downs this season, which is the case for many teams. Before winning five of their last seven, the Titans lost five times in a six-game stretch. It's safe to say that this year's edition of the Titans led by Ken Pearson can and has faced plenty of adversity throughout the campaign.

Another instance is having to play the remainder of their season without their captain. Cody Gudnason broke his leg during a game on February 18 against Winkler and he will miss the remainder of the season. A key cog on and off the ice, the 20-year-old from Killarney was a driving force with the team, recording 37 points in 45 games.

While he won't be able to help the team on the ice anymore, Pearson says Cody remains in good spirits and the four-year member of the organization means a lot to Neepawa.

"He's been part of our whole turnaround here in Neepawa and what we're trying to do on and off the ice," offered Pearson. "He was always great in the community, he loves helping out others. He has also done a great job in attracting other players to our team. He's also an excellent player, he will certainly be missed on the ice."

Season Changer:

The chances of winning a hockey game when down by two goals with less than three minutes left on the clock are slim to none. It's something that you will rarely see, especially at the junior level and above. That's the situation Neepawa was facing on February 23 when they were down 5-3 to Selkirk late in the contest.

Connor Thompson and Hayden Stocks then scored 19 seconds apart to tie it and in overtime, Stocks scored his third goal of the game as the Titans pulled off the improbable comeback against a Steelers team who are also battling for a playoff spot.

The win started a stretch that saw the Titans win four games in a row to put themselves in a very good spot.

"Definitely would have been a dagger if we didn't win that game," said Pearson. "You could see the guys after that game, how excited and pumped up they were. It looked like we weren't going to get any points, so to get two is huge for our group. We preach playing a full game, regardless of how long it is. We didn't give up and that was a great win for our group."

Home Stretch:

Following Tuesday's contest against the lowly Blues, the Titans will be in very tough the rest of the way with three games in three days this weekend which features games against Steinbach, Portage, and the Blizzard. With eight possible points remaining, the Titans will make their first trip back to the Turnbull Cup playoffs since 2017 with four points. This could come from two wins, four extra-time losses, or any combination in between. 

Based on how loud the crowd was last Friday when Dauphin played the Titans at the Yellowhead Centre, there's a buzz in that community right now and rightfully so, Ken has the group playing some excellent hockey and this is set to be an exciting week as the Titans look to lock up fourth place.

With 523 fans in attendance for that game, it marked the second-highest attendance that the team had played in front of on their home ice this season. 

361 games have been played and beginning Tuesday, just 21 more regular season games will be played this year.

It's been an exciting season and as of Tuesday, just six more days remain in the 2023/24 Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) campaign. Eight of the league's 13 teams will qualify for the playoffs for the right to battle for the Turnbull Cup. The winner of the MJHL will represent Manitoba at the Centennial Cup in Oakville from May 9-19 at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex.

Manitoba will be in a pool alongside the champions from the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL), champions from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey (SJHL), the host Blades, and the champions from the Maritime Hockey League (MHL).

Last year's league champion Steinbach Pistons failed to make the playoffs while the Dauphin Kings advanced to the national semi-finals two years ago. This year, both the Kings and Steinbach will be competing in the playoffs. 

With six days left (as of publishing) left in the regular season, here is what the playoff picture looks like.

West Division:

#1 - Virden Oil Capitals (38-11-3-3)

With three games left on their schedule, the Oil Capitals can earn home ice advantage with just one win over their next three games, paired with a single loss from the Blizzard. Sitting on top of the division by four points, the Oil Capitals have scored a division-leading 215 goals this year while also giving up the fewest in the division with 128 against.

Virden advanced to the league final last year where they came up short against Steinbach. This year's team brings plenty of playoff experience along with it and Eric Reid is putting together an outstanding season between the pipes.

Coming Up: March 13 @ Winkler, March 15 vs Niverville, March 17 @ Waywayseecappo

#2 - Blizzard Junior 'A' Hockey Club (37-14-1-3)

There is no hotter team in the league. The Blizzard have not lost since February 4 as the league's most northern team has won 12 games in a row leading up to the final week of the regular season. With 178 goals this year, the Blizzard rank fourth in the West offensively while they have allowed the second-fewest in the division with 129 against.

This year's Blizzard team has built off last year when they finished in second place in the West. They are not a team full of all-stars and exceptionally skilled forwards; however, you would be hard-pressed to find a harder working team that bonds together. While they have an outside chance of catching Virden and finishing first in the West, the Blizzard can clinch at least second place with two points over their final three games. Doing so would give them home-ice advantage in round one of the playoffs.

This year's team continues to prove why they will not be an easy out. They have guys who can score in big moments and in the net, they have Tomas Anderson who is the league's top goaltender and recently had a stretch where he had four shutouts in a span of six games. Watch out for the Blizzard.

Coming Up: March 13 vs Dauphin, March 15 vs Waywayseecappo, March 17 @ Neepawa

#3 - Dauphin Kings (34-17-2-1)

With four games in five days to wrap up their regular season, the Kings will be one of the busiest teams around the league to cap off their 58-game schedule.

Playing four more games before the big dance also presents Dauphin with a chance to figure things out. After an outstanding stretch saw the team win five in a row from February 16 to 24 including wins against Steinbach and Portage, the Kings have gone downhill as of late. Dauphin has lost four of their last six games and has not looked overly impressive in more than two weeks.

Giving up far too many grade-A scoring chances while failing to produce many themselves offensively has seen Dauphin's chances of finishing second in the West come crashing down. With that said, this is still a very good club and if they can start firing on all cylinders, they have the ability throughout the lineup to go on a run. It also helps that they have Cole Sheffield, who is one of the top goalies in the league. 

With a matchup against the Blizzard nearing confirmation, the Kings will look to get back at their northern rivals after dropping the last two meetings against them. 

Coming Up: March 12 vs Portage, March 13 @ Blizzard, March 15 @ Blues, March 15 @ Selkirk 


#4 - Neepawa Titans (26-27-1)

The only real race for playoff positioning in the West Division is turning out to be not much of a conversation. The Waywayseecappo Wolverines were right on the heels of Neepawa after winning seven straight games earlier in 2024; however, paired with some recent success from the Titans, Neepawa is now in a great spot.

Also with four more regular season games, the Titans now have a five-point gap over the Wolverines for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West. Losing their captain Cody Gudnason was a very tough blow, but the team has rallied around him and is now playing for the 20-year-old from Killarney.

The Titans have won five of their last seven games which included a wild comeback on February 23 when they were down by two goals against Selkirk with just more than two minutes left. The Titans stormed back to win the game in overtime and then reeled off three straight wins after that. 

Something would have to go seriously wrong over the next week for Neepawa to miss the playoffs.

Coming Up: March 12 @ Blues, March 15 @ Steinbach, March 16 @ Portage, March 17 vs Blizzard

#5 - Waywayseecappo Wolverines (22-28-1-3)

They were firing on all cylinders. Taylor Harnett had them playing outstanding hockey as the Wolverines reeled off seven straight wins from February 2-19. Since then, things have taken a turn for the worst as the Wolverines have lost six of seven games, quashing any momentum they had built.

The Wolverines are an inconsistent club. They also, barring a miracle, will miss the playoffs this year and their recent play as of late is a reason why. Waywayseecappo was in Neepawa on February 27 and lost 7-0. 

They were also outscored 11-3 in two games against Steinbach over the weekend. With just eight points possible the rest of the way and being five points back, the Wolverines have to win out and still get some help. Crazier things have happened, we will see how the week plays out.

Coming Up: March 12 @ Swan Valley, March 13 vs Selkirk, March 15 @ Blizzard, March 17 vs Virden

West division

East Division:

#1 - Steinbach Pistons (45-8-3) 

The defending champions have certainly not missed a beat this year as they continue to roll. They have already surpassed their win total from one year ago when they won 42 games.

This year, the Pistons have already locked up home-ice advantage for the entirety of their playoff run as regular season champions. They lead the league with 234 goals and have given up just 103. The Pistons have won eight of their last 10 games and with just two games left to go, Steinbach will look to polish up any loose ends as they begin their title defence of one year ago. 

Playing out of the HyLife Centre, the Pistons are 25-1-2 on home ice this year. With seven regulation losses on the road, the Pistons are without a doubt beatable, but it's not an easy feat. Dauphin did beat them twice this year. All in all, it will be tough to take down the Pistons this year, especially if a team needs to do so at the HyLife Centre where Steinbach has been near unbeatable.

Coming Up: March 15 vs Neepawa, March 16 @ Freeze

#2 - Winkler Flyers (40-9-2-3)

They loaded up at the deadline and have the top two leading scorers. This might be Winkler's best chance to win a league championship, something that has escaped them over the years despite icing some stellar clubs.

With 40 wins under their belt, Winkler has been outstanding on both ends of the ice. Dalton Andrew of the Flyers leads the league with 74 points while Trent Penner, who was recently named the league's most valuable player, is second in scoring with 72 points. Whether you turn to Malachi Klassen or Liam Ernst between the pipes, Winkler has won. Klassen will be the game-one starter when the playoffs open next Friday.

Perhaps an area of concern for Winkler is their inability to stay out of the penalty box. The Flyers have 1157 penalty minutes this year which are 330 more than anyone else. It hasn't hurt them a ton as of now as they're 85.8% on the penalty kill, but it always seems that penalties amplify come playoff time and it gets tougher to win when you're in the penalty box consistently. 

This is the year for Winkler as their prospect pool dwindled at the deadline as head coach and general manager Justin Falk went all-in. Their incredible crowds will surely help at the Centennial Arena as well.

Coming Up: March 12 @ Freeze, March 13 vs Virden, March 15 @ Selkirk, March 17 @ Blues

#3 - Portage Terriers (34-12-4-4) 

They can't move up the standings and they can't go down. The Terriers are locked into the third spot in the East Division as they will play the Winkler Flyers in a best-of-seven opening up next weekend in Winkler.

While Portage will enter that series as underdogs based on the standings, they will have some outstanding mojo as they have taken down the Flyers twice over the past three weeks. This includes once in Winkler, so the Terriers know how to win on home ice and they know how to win on the road. Portage seems to be playing their best hockey at a crucial time as they have three straight wins, one of which came against Winkler and another came against Virden while they also beat Swan Valley.

Adding some veteran experience in Aidan Brook at the deadline, this Portage team is primed to pull off an upset in the first round. Portage's downfall is they give up a lot of goals. Of the eight teams currently in a playoff spot, Portage has given up the most with 141. On the same note, they allowed just three goals combined in wins over Winkler and Virden this month, so they can also play a low-scoring type of game. The Terriers are ready for what's to come starting next Friday.

Coming Up: March 12 @ Dauphin, March 13 vs Blues, March 15 @ Freeze, March 16 vs Neepawa


#4 - Niverville Nighthawks (28-24-3-1)

Somehow, the Nighthawks still hold a playoff spot in the East. They have won five of their last seven games, but 2024 has been a struggle in all for the league's newest team. From February 9 to 24, the team lost six straight games and also fired their head coach and general manager as Kelvin Cech was relieved of his duties. 

They aren't playing with a ton of confidence right now and as they look to make a return trip to the big dance, they will have to play well over their final two games and maybe get some luck. They are currently three points up on Selkirk for fourth place, a team that they lost to over the weekend. 

Raiden Legall is one of the league's youngest players having graduated from the U18 Pembina Valley Hawks last year and while he has committed to play Division 1 hockey, he has never been tested like this at this level. If he can step up over the next week, the Nighthawks have a good chance to make the Elite Eight, especially because they play Swan Valley to finish their season.

Coming Up: March 15 @ Virden, March 16 vs Swan Valley

#5 -Selkirk Steelers (24-22-4-5)

They have made it a race, they have given hockey fans an exciting playoff race and that race is less than a week from being complete. The Selkirk Steelers did themselves a favour when they beat Niverville over the weekend.

Still, they face an uphill battle. The Steelers are three points back of the Nighthawks, with a game in hand. Unfortunately for Selkirk, their schedule is by no means a cakewalk. They play the Wolverines -- who continue to battle for a playoff spot in the West --, the Kings who are looking to correct things before the playoffs, and Winkler, a team that will also look to fine-tune things ahead of their first-round matchup against Portage.

Selkirk was four points back of Niverville last year for the final playoff spot. If the Steelers were to win their remaining three games, they would finish the regular season with 63 points. The Nighthawks would then have to get three or fewer points in their final two games. If Niverville is to also finish with 63 points, Selkirk has won the season series which would give them the edge. 

They will have to be perfect and get some luck, we'll see if they can get it done.

Coming Up: March 13 @ Waywayseecappo, March 15 vs Winkler, March 16 vs Dauphin

East division

To get you set for the 2024 Turnbull Cup Playoffs, Darnell Duff will be joined by Jeff Henson for a playoff primer.

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Darnell Duff will then broadcast all Kings home and road playoff games. 

Four teams remain. 

The Pembina Valley Hawks will be looking to pull off one of the biggest upsets in league history while two storied programs will go head to head with a spot in the league final on the line. The first round of the Manitoba AAA U18 Hockey League's playoffs provided plenty of drama.

The Brandon Wheat Kings scored 26 goals in a three-game sweep of Eastman. The other three series all went the distance as hockey fans were treated to some great action. Pembina Valley upset Southwest in the first round, Hudson Kowalchuk scored early in the third period for the Wild as they held off Interlake in five games and the Thrashers scored twice in the third period in a five-game series win against the Bruins.

#1 Brandon Wheat Kings vs #7 Pembina Valley Hawks

The Pembina Valley Hawks face the ultimate test on their journey. The Brandon Wheat Kings have still yet to lose a game in regulation this year and they dismantled Eastman in the first-round. Jaxon Jacobson scored 10 points in the first round while Brady Turko scored nine. 15 players recorded at least five points for the Wheat Kings in the first round.

They have not only been favoured to win the league title in Manitoba this year but they are thought to be national championship contenders. While heavily favoured in this series, Brandon can not take the Hawks easily.

Pembina Valley entered the playoffs as the second-hottest team in the league with nine wins over their final 12 games. They then dispatched the favoured Cougars in the first round. Pembina Valley is not a team that will light up the scoreboard as only three players had more than two points in the first round. They will; however, get outstanding goaltending and that's exactly what Bryson Yaschyshyn will have to be if the Hawks want to pull off an upset. He had a 2.19 goals-against average in the first round to go along with a .921 save percentage. 

After giving up six goals in game one against Southwest, the Hawks allowed three or fewer in the remaining four games of the series.

Duffy's Prediction:  Pembina Valley is riding high, they're playing with confidence, and they believe in themselves. While all great traits to possess, Brandon rolls. This Wheat Kings roster is far too deep and the Hawks will not be able to slow them down. Will every game be a blowout? No and Pembina Valley will even squeak out a win thanks to Gross; however, Brandon wins in four games.

Series Schedule:
Game 1: Tuesday, March 12th at 7:30 p.m. in Brandon
Game 2: Thursday, March 14th at 8:00 p.m. in Morden
Game 3: Friday, March 15th at 7:30 p.m. in Brandon
Game 4*: (if necessary) Sunday, March 17th at 2:00 p.m. in Morden
Game 5*: (if necessary) Tuesday, March 19th at 7:30 p.m. in Brandon

#3 Winnipeg Wild vs #4 Winnipeg Thrashers

They're coming off a dramatic first-round series against the Bruins and now, the Winnipeg Thrashers will go up against another city rival as they play the Wild. The Wild have already clinched a berth in the Telus Cup West Regionals as they will host that four-team event early next month.

That event means very little to them at this point as they look to win the league and in their way is a stingy Thrashers team. One of the biggest headlines going into this series revolves around a young star who won't even turn 15 until May. Prabh Bhatal made his U18 playoff debut as a 14-year-old in the team's game-one victory against the Bruins and did not leave the lineup, making some sizeable contributions along the way. In his first five U18 playoff games as a 14-year-old, Prabh had two goals and one assist. He had 119 points in just 32 games with the Thrashers U15 team this year. That total is the fourth-most points during a season in U15 league history. It will be very interesting to see if Bhatal can continue to produce at the U18 level as a 14-year-old. 

It was all Wild in the team's regular season series as they scored 24 goals in four games and gave up just eight in the process. Both teams can get hot offensively while both teams have also struggled in their zone at times. 

Only three players combined in the first round between the two teams recorded five or more points (all Wild). The biggest difference in this series could come between the pipes. Taye Timmerman was very good in round one for the Thrashers with a 2.37 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. Jacob Armstrong was even better for the Wild with a 1.61 goals-against average to go along with a .941 save percentage.

Duffy's Prediction:  Timmerman has to be good, very good. If he is, then the Thrashers have a chance in this series. With that said Armstrong will prevail in this series as he outduels Timmerman in the Battle of Winnipeg. Take the Wild in four games. 

Series Schedule:
Game 1: Monday, March 11th at 7:15 p.m. at Hockey For All Centre
Game 2: Wednesday, March 13th at 7:30 p.m. at Gateway Recreation Centre
Game 3: Thursday, March 14th at 7:30 p.m. at Hockey For All Centre
Game 4*: (if necessary) Sunday, March 17th at 1:00 p.m. at Gateway Recreation Centre
Game 5*: (if necessary Tuesday, March 19th at 7:15 p.m. at Hockey For All Centre

At the young age of 10, Aiden Brunel was mesmerized at what Lebron James could do on the basketball court.

As one of the greatest players to ever play the game, James is a reason why so many young boys and girls decide to play basketball and that is the exact case for the Ste. Rose grade 10 athlete

"Just to see all of those guys develop their games and get better, it's awesome to see," said Brunel. "As soon as I started watching a game on TV, I had to get involved."

Now years later, Brunel continues to take big steps on the court with each season that passes. This season was the young man's best on the court. With the Ste. Rose Celtics junior varsity team, Aiden helped the Celtics win the Carman tournament and they also won the Zone 8 championships which was followed up with an impressive interzone victory over Hamiota which earned them a berth to the provincial championships.

"There was a lot of improvement throughout the year for our group," said Brunel. "Our coach Nathan Zadorozny did a great job at pushing us and helping us improve. We had some guys that had never played the game, so we grew a lot throughout the year, it was a really fun year."

Aiden dominated his opponents this year averaging 23 points, eight rebounds, and six assists per game.

"I thought my game improved drastically over the year, I just started to click," offered Brunel. "It was a really fun team to be a part of and I wouldn't have improved my statistics without my teammates pushing me and being right by my side every single step of the way."

Led by Brunel, the team was in Winnipeg over the weekend to wrap up their season at the provincials. While they came up short against Green Valley and Margaret Barbour, it was an experience that Aiden will never forget. After all, it was the first time that a basketball team from Ste. Rose had qualified for the provincials.

"It was awesome, one of the best events that I had ever been to before," said Brunel. "We wanted to make a name for Ste. Rose and show what we could do. We tried to hold our own and set an example for Ste. Rose and what the future has to come."

Now that the high school season has come to an end, Brunel will focus on other high school sports that he will take part in including badminton. With that said, Brunel will always make sure there is a basketball close, and when the snow is off the ground, he will continue to work on his game at the new outdoor court in Ste. Rose. This is on top of spending plenty of time putting up shots in the school's gym.

"It's awesome to have our new outdoor court, I will be training a lot and it will keep everyone warmed up," offered Brunel. "It's great for the community and it will help our basketball team for years to come."

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Brunel's days as a member of the junior varsity team also ended with a bang as the grade 10 student-athlete was named a Dairy Farmers Athlete of the Week. Aiden was shocked to find out he was a winner of the province-wide award.

"I was honoured and so surprised that I had won, there are so many great players around the province that are eligible to win," ended Brunel. "It's a great feeling to know that all of the hardwork that I have and continue to put in is paying off."

On top of being an elite athlete, Aiden also puts great focus into his studies with an academic average of 84%. 

The Grand Plains 13U Hawks are feeling golden and on top of the province. 

On their way to a gold medal, the Hawks went a perfect 3-0 in the round robin, scoring 25 goals and giving up just two. 

In the playoffs, Grand Plains continued to dismantle their opponents with a 10-3 win against Elm Creek in their semi-final and they capped off their gold medal performance with a dominating 9-3 win against St. Eustache. 


Elsewhere, the Swan Valley Stampeders 13U team won a bronze medal.

Going up against Neepawa in the third place game, Swan Valley got four goals from Madden Atkinson in a 10-1 win against Neepawa.

Konnor Dixon scored twice for Swan Valley in the win. Emmett Grandfield, Chase Eisner, Tripp Warburton, and Dane Anderson also scored for the Stampeders in the win.

Kyson Lapointe scored Neepawa's lone goal in the game.