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It was a weekend that the Parkland U18 Rangers will hope to forget about very quickly.

Playing a critical two-game series against the Norman Northstars in Thompson, the Rangers scored just once in the two games and they gave up 14 goals.

On Saturday, Norman had 15 power plays as Parkland couldn't stay disciplined and Norman skated off with an 8-1 victory. Then on Sunday, the Rangers handed Norman with another nine power plays in a 6-0 defeat. 

The Rangers are now eight points back of the final playoff spot heading into another important game on Tuesday when they welcome the Yellowhead Chiefs to town. Darnell Duff and Jeff Henson will have the call of that game kicking off with the Parkland Source for Sports pregame show at 7:15. 

In front of the largest crowd of any game in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League this year, the Dauphin Kings put on a show.

Nearly 2000 fans packed the stands as Dauphin beat the top-ranked Steinbach Pistons, 5-2, on Ukrainian Night. 

It was a huge response for Dauphin after they lost to the Blizzard on Friday night. 

Havryil Simchuk opened up the scoring in the game before the Pistons made it a 1-1 game after 20 minutes. Then the Kings went to work in the midway frame as Aidan Murray and Cayden Glover scored back-to-back goals as the Kings took a 3-1 lead. Steinbach would make it a one goal game; however, that is as close as they would get. 

Rylan Gage and Ethan Williment scored in the third to seal two big points for the Kings as they improved to 24-12-1 on the season. They're just three points back of the Blizzard for second with three games in hand. 

The Dauphin Clippers hockey team opened up the scoring and they never looked back. 

On the road to play Birtle on Friday, the Clippers stole the show in a convincing 9-1 win against the Falcons. Joe Tabin earned the victory between the pipes.

Ronin Mouck and Josh Yakelashek scored two goals apiece for Dauphin in the win. Sully Fox, Jaxon Bodnar, Jackson Buchanan, Tyron Sweetman, and William Miner also scored a goal apiece for Dauphin in the win. 

The Clippers return to Credit Union Place to play Killarney on Saturday afternoon at 1:30. 

The Dauphin Kings had a seven-game winning streak going; however, they failed to make it eight start.

Playing a key West Division matchup against the Blizzard on Friday, it was the Blizz who doubled up the Kings, 4-2.

It was Dauphin's first loss of 2024 and now, they're three points back of the Blizzard for second in the West. Keep in mind, the Kings do have three games in hand as they look to rebound on Saturday night when Steinbach comes to town for Ukrainian Night. 

Kyan Grouette scored his second as a King in the defeat while Trey Gnetz also found the back of the net. 

This upcoming weekend isn't just a noteworthy one for the Parkland U18 Rangers; it's a colossal moment, a pivotal juncture that could reshape the trajectory of their entire season. Describing it as merely significant would be a gross understatement—it's a make-or-break showdown that resonates with the weight of their playoff aspirations.

The Rangers, currently holding the 10th spot in the league with a record of 11-17-2-1, are on the cusp of playoff contention, trailing the Norman Northstars by a mere five points for the eighth and final playoff spot. As the regular season hurtles towards its conclusion, the urgency is palpable, and every game becomes a battle for survival.

Amidst a recent stretch of seven losses in their last 10 games, the Rangers have grappled with consistency. However, their resilience shines through in significant victories that have kept their playoff dreams alive. Notably, triumphs over Southwest on January 6 and a repeat performance just 13 days later underscore the Rangers' ability to rise to the occasion. The significance of these victories is amplified by the fact that Southwest is positioned in second place in the league. Realistically, the top position Southwest can secure is second, given the unmatched dominance of the Brandon Wheat Kings with an impeccable 32 wins in 33 games.

The weekend road trip against the Norman Northstars marks the beginning of a crucial six-game stretch for the Rangers. Following this pivotal matchup, they are set to face teams they've either defeated or battled fiercely against. The intensity continues with a Tuesday game against Yellowhead at Credit Union Place, followed by back-to-back clashes against the Interlake Lightning to kick off the next month. The journey then takes the Rangers to Shoal Lake for a showdown against the Chiefs on February 8.

While the playoff spot remains elusive at this moment, the Rangers find themselves just six points behind Eastman, currently in the seventh spot. This weekend isn't just about games; it's about seizing an opportunity to build momentum and catapult up the standings.

So, get ready for a weekend of electrifying hockey, where every play, every goal, and every save holds the potential to redefine the narrative for the Parkland U18 Rangers. It's not just a weekend; it's a quest for momentum, a journey toward playoff contention, and the echoes of this pivotal stretch will resonate through the remaining chapters of their season.

Rangers vs Northstars:

11 17 2 1

Nick Hudyma truly has been in a class of his own this season in his grade 11 year with the Dauphin Clippers varsity boys basketball team.

From Dauphin, Hudyma has a goal of putting up anywhere from 100 to 200 shots per day. At times, he exceeds that by hundreds and he has for years. In turn his dedication to the sport of basketball has led him to a year that will never be forgotten.

While the Clippers have several great offensive options on the court this season, Hudyma has been the team's biggest driving force. Across 10 tournament games, the Clipper has scored 306 points, an average of 30.6 points per game which is one of the highest averages around the province.

Hudyma truly never settles. He is a firm believer that there is still a lot of room for improvement which means his work in the gym never ends.

"It's always about working and working on the small things," said Hudyma. "There is a lot to learn for me, so I continue to push myself and I honestly love it, basketball means everything to me."

Playing the sport for as long as he can remember, one of the most impressive things about Nick's season so far is the fact that he is only in grade 11. He's putting up numbers consistently that are very rarely seen at the high school level, but he knows he wouldn't be able to do so without his great teammates.

"We have a great group of guys and a great coaching staff," offered Hudyma. "It's one of the best teams that I have ever been a part of, it's a pretty special group that we have."

Hudyma is also enjoying being a leader of the group.

"It's amazing, it's very easy when everyone wants to work hard and when everyone on the team has the same common goal," said Hudyma. 

In their most recent tournament in Winkler, the Clippers opened up their event with a 22-point victory over Garden Valley, the eighth-ranked AAA team in the province. In the game, Nick racked up a team-leading 39 points to go along with eight rebounds. Hudyma then had 25 points, five assists, and six steals in a 17-point win against Steinbach. Going up against a AAAA powerhouse in Glenlawn in their final game, the Clippers came up just short as they finished in second place and Hudyma had another 27 points to go along with seven rebounds and two steals.

On top of their silver medal in Winkler, Dauphin also won a consolation championship earlier this year in Sanford and at the BSSI Invitational in Brandon earlier this season, they finished in sixth place out of 16 teams. 

The Clippers are coming off a 118-45 win over Ste. Rose on Wednesday night. In limited minutes, Nick had 30 points. The team is now preparing to head to Winnipeg for the MAC Attack tournament at Nelson McIntyre next weekend. 

There are powerhouses and then there is the Brandon U18 Wheat Kings.

They improved to 32-0-1 on Tuesday night as they came into Dauphin and took care of the Parkland U18 Rangers with a 4-2 win. The Rangers opened up the scoring thanks to Cade Legaarden who scored his 14th goal of the season in the first; however, Parkland couldn't hold on.

Brandon scored the game's next four goals before Alex Campbell found the back of the net for Parkland. Ultimately, it wasn't enough. Brandon's unbeaten  streak was extended to 20 games with the win as they have not lost since November 10 when they lost 3-2 in overtime to Southwest. 

With the loss, the Rangers dropped to 11-17-2-1. They are heading to Norman this weekend for two critical games against the Northstars. Parkland is currently five points back of Norman for the eighth and final playoff spot in the league.

The Rangers then wrap up the month with a game against Yellowhead. 

The Dauphin Kings used a dominating third period on Tuesday night to cruise to their seventh straight win to open 2024.

Up just 3-2 after 40 minutes, the Kings scored three times in the third to win 6-2. Rylan Gibbs scored two of the team's goals in the third while Cayden Glover also scored for Dauphin in the big. 

In the first period, the Kings sure didn't wait long to find the back of the net as 4:20 into the contest, Aidan Murray let go of a wrister from the left dot and it beat Kyle Abrahamson. It was a extra special goal for Aidan as it was his first as a King.

Swan Valley would respond a short time later as Landen Gulutzan scored a power play goal just 2:55 after Murray opened the scoring. It was Landen's eighth of the season. This time, it was Dauphin's turn to take over as Cayden Glover went bardown from the slot as he recorded his seventh goal of the season and it was also while the Kings were on a power play. Austin Seibel made eight saves for Dauphin in the first period while Abrahamson turned away 15 shots in the first. 

In the second, it was the Stampeders came out firing on all cylinders as they held Dauphin to just one shot in the first 12 minutes of the period. They also found the back of the net as Callum Halls scored just 66 seconds into the period as it was 2-2. Dauphin did get stronger in the final eight minutes of the period and with less than six minutes left in the period while on the power play, Logan Walker tipped home a shot from Jordan Bax for his 17th of the season. Dauphin held a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes. 

With the win, Dauphin improves to 23-11-1 and they can now overtake the Blizzard for second place in the West Division if they are able to beat them in regulation on Friday night at Credit Union Place.

Austin Seibel was solid for Dauphin as he made 25 saves to record the win. The Kings are now 3-0 against the Stampeders this season, outscoring them, 17-5. 

It was, for many years, a dream. That dream then became a reality. Growing up in Swan River, Trey Sauder spent countless hours at the rink playing minor hockey and a big part of his life growing up was watching the communities Junior A Hockey Team, the Stampeders.

Developing through the Parkland U18 Rangers program and winning a scoring title in the Westman High School Hockey League with his hometown high school team, Sauder always dreamt of playing with the big boys, and come the 2021-22 season, Sauder's dream became a reality as he made the Stampeders and went on to play 51 games that year, scoring nine times and picking up 12 assists.

It was in the playoffs during that season in which Sauder took his game to the next level as he scored four times in a series against the Dauphin Kings. The Kings went on to win that series and advanced to the Centennial Cup. Riding high after a great playoff series in his rookie year as a junior player, Trey remained in his hometown team and playing alongside Justin Keck and Jakob Jones, Sauder was a man on a mission as he finished with 60 points in 58 regular season games. He then added eight playoff points in 12 games as Swan Valley came up short against Steinbach in the second round.

Back as an assistant captain with Swan Valley this year, Sauder had 31 points in 33 games. As Trey says, playing for his hometown junior team was an exceptional experience.

"It's always a priviledge to play junior hockey and it makes it even more special to play in front of all your family and friends in my hometown," said Sauder. "It was a very special feeling to be a Stampeder, it was 2.5 years of my life that I will always cherish and remember."

Then came this year's Canadian Junior Hockey League Trade Deadline and with it, brought the end of his time as a Stampeder. In a blockbuster deal, Trey was dealt to the Steinbach Pistons. The Pistons have won 31 of their 38 games as they lead the MGEU East Division and league, respectively with 65 points. 

"You always want to be on a championship calibre team, especially when you're 20," said Sauder. "It was a hard choice to move away from my hometown, but I knew I would regret it if I didn't ask for a trade. I've never been away from home, but I'll be back in a few months with my family."

Sauder has now played in five games with his new team and has enjoyed immediate success with four goals. He's tied for 14th in league scoring with 35 points. 

"I have a shooting mentality and that's what has helped me," said Sauder. "You never know what can happen when you shoot, you can get a lucky bounce and find the back of the net. I'm pretty happy with how things have been going so far."

With Steinbach being a championship contender this year as they look to defend their title from last year, Trey says just being on a winning team that has championship aspirations is thrilling

"It's pretty crazy to think about, I'm hoping that we can go on a big run here, but you never know because anything can happen in the playoffs," ended Sauder. "We have a great group of guys here and we're going to continue to push. It's all about winning here and I will do whatever I can to help them do just that."

Sauder and his new team are off to Niverville to play the Nighthawks on Wednesday night. 

It wasn't the perfect weekend that the Parkland U18 Rangers were looking for; however, to earn two of a possible four points against a championship contender is very impressive.

Wrapping up a two-game weekend set against Southwest, the Cougars scored a pair of goals late in a 3-1 victory against Parkland on Saturday night. 

Hayden Seib had Parkland's lone goal in the game as the Rangers and Cougars were tied with 5:23 left in the third period. Ultimately, Southwest scored two goals in a matter of 3:16 to skate off with two points.

Chase Glover was outstanding in net as he made 44 saves. Parkland was five points back of a playoff spot entering the weekend, but they are now just four points back. Parkland welcomes Brandon to town on Tuesday before taking part in three critical games to end the month. They're off to Norman for two games next weekend and they wrap up January against Yellowhead. 

The Dauphin Clippers varsity girls basketball team are the Champions of the North.

Making their way to Flin Flon this weekend, the Clippers completed a perfect weekend with a dominating performance in the final as they downed Hapnot, 48-23, to claim their first championship of the season.

In the round-robin, Dauphin also went up against the Hapnot junior varsity team and beat them by 28 points and they also got past Creighton, 60-50. This weekend's performance was the continuation of what has been a great season so far for the Clippers after winning a bronze medal at a tournament in Neepawa last weekend.

Natasha Nepinak is the team's head coach and she is very proud of how hard every member of the team is working.

"It's an amazing feeling, we have such a hardworking group of girls and just so much talent on our team," said Nepinak. "We are so proud as a coaching staff and we can't wait to see what the rest of the season has to offer."