Manitoba Provincials took place over the weekend at the beautiful Seven Oaks
Complex. Coming into the best of the three series there were no guarantees of
who would be victorious for a couple reasons. One being that the Winnipeg
Monarchs and Brandon Wheat Kings did not see each other often during the
regular season, trading wins. The other reason being, both teams have great
assets and are viable candidates for the Western Canadian Bantam Championship.
Game 1 took place
on Friday the 18th and it delivered all sorts of entertainment.
Brandon jumped out
to a 2-0 lead in the first period on some effective net crashing by Dylan
Halliday's line. The shots at the end of the period were close and in favor of
the Monarchs. In the second half of the first period the Monarchs started to
generate their team speed.
The second period
displayed more speed all over the ice, with end-to-end domination on the
Monarchs behalf, outshooting Brandon 12 to 4. Eric Fawkes put the first tally
up for the Monarchs on a beautiful solo effort getting through three Wheat Kings
defenders, and beating goaltender Trent Miner one-on-one.
In the third
period the Monarchs continued their quickness on a total line contribution
generating a Monarch rush. Miner saved the first two chances but could not get
across in time before Mitchell Joss buried the puck in the back of the net.
This pushed the game into extra time. In the second overtime period the
Monarchs got an unlikely break off a clear attempt by Miner playing the puck
off a shin pad and rolling back into the net. The final score was 3-2 in favor
of the Monarchs.
The first period
provided the entertainment for everyone in the Seven Oaks Complex. Both teams
had great support from the fans, however on the ice it was a heated feud
between the two teams, only in their 4th meeting of year.
The Wheat Kings
won the time of possession battle, as well as shots, which were 15 to the
Monarchs 8. Much of the play was spent in the Monarchs zone or neutral zone and
goaltender Isaac Poulter stood his ground in the pipes through quality scoring
chances on fast breaks, the Wheaties often splitting the Monarch defenseman. Brandon's
most effective line was the Dylan Halliday, Tristen Robins, and Tanner Morrison
who were all over pucks.
the first and only goal of the period off a rebound on the power play. The
Monarchs best scoring chances of the period were on a power play of their own,
while 5-on-5 they tended to stray away from speed and puck movement and
attempted to skate the puck through the neutral zone.
The second period
was full of drama in the game as well as in between the whistles. Whether it
was the nets popping off too often, two goals called back, or offside calls,
the controversies and stoppage of play changed the speed of this period and the
emotions from both benches.
Shots at the end
of the period were 22to 17 for the Wheat Kings. There were great
scoring opportunities from both sides. The physical presence took over in the
corner battles, everyone finished checks all over the ice.
to fly around generating chances, but Poulter again came to the rescue for the
Monarchs making some momentum changing stops towards the end of the period.
This lead to two late goals for the Monarchs. While Minor made it incredibly
difficult to get anything through, his active play on the puck turned into his
foil when the Monarchs had a man ready for the rim along the wall, creating
hesitation and a unique opportunity where Miner was out of position, giving
Jonny Hooker a small window to put the puck in the net from a poor angle. This
lit the fire on the Monarch bench who turned up the play for the rest of the
period eventually scoring with 3.3 seconds left in the period from Ryan Brennan.
The Monarchs go into the third up 2-1.
The Monarchs used
the momentum from the end of the 2nd to continue to push and Tristan Thompson would find the twine behind Miner to put the Monarchs up 3-1.
However there was
no quit in Brandon and they continued to compete and finally being rewarded
when Nate Hunter directed a shot off Poulter's shoulder and in for a 3-2 game.
Well the rest was
a nail biter as Brandon threw everything they could at Poulter and with Miner
out of the net for the extra attacker the Monarchs held on for the Provincial
Championship victory at 3-2.
The Monarchs now
move on to the Western Canadian Bantam Championship in Okotoks Alberta, which
begins March 31st.