This year’s Bantam 1 finals were a repeat of last year’s Bantam 2 series between the Monarchs and the Warriors. Both teams had successful regular seasons and cruised through the first round of playoffs to gain a birth in the finals where the chance to play for the provincial title against the rural champion was on the line.
With the Warriors winning the first 2 games of the series, the Monarchs were able to steal game 3 from the Warriors, but they dropped game 4 making the series 3-1 heading into an eventful game 5 on March 8th.
From the opening puck drop, both the Monarchs and Warriors brought a newfound energy in wanting to leave it all out on the ice. Each team also brought heavy physical play which lead to some scuffles. The first period flew by with the play going end to end and each team getting chances to score. At the end of the very fast and physical first period both teams were dead locked at zero.
Coming out for the second period, the Warriors found an edge and forced play on to the Monarchs. The Warriors edge and pressure paid off just over 3 minutes into the second period with Lukas Hansen snapping home a goal and opening up the scoring making it 1-0. The Monarchs pushed back soon after the goal and created lots of chances around the Warriors net, but none were able to get past Warriors netminder Alex Domenico. Late in the period the Monarchs took a penalty and sent the Warriors to the power play. Only 10 seconds into the power play Ethan Alsip fired home a point shot through a screen fooling Monarchs goalie Tristan Vary and made the score 2-0 for the Warriors, which is how the period would end.
Heading into the third down 2 goals in a do or die situation, the Monarchs needed to find their footing to push back soon before the score got too far out of reach. Sensing the pressure, right after the third period face-off, the Warriors find a way to drive the net and Reeve Sukut buries the puck in the net and opens up the Warriors lead to 3-0. The Monarchs were now in trouble and needed to catch a break soon after the Warriors goal. It came by way of the powerplay, and they had to score in order to stay in the game. Less than 10 seconds into the man advantage Kai Elkie finds the back of the net finally putting the Monarchs on the board and making the score 3-1. Now firing on all cylinders, the Monarchs try to push back for the remainder of the period and eat away at the Warriors lead. Unfortunately their plan did not work out, the Warriors shut the door and held the Monarchs off the scoreboard for the rest of the period. The Warriors put the cherry on top with Liam Saxberg scoring an empty net goal making the score 4-1 and giving the Warriors their second consecutive AAA City Championship.
On behalf of AAA Hockey Winnipeg, we would like to congratulate the Warriors on winning the Championship as well as the Monarchs and all the other teams in the league for their amazing seasons! We look forward to seeing you all at the Bantam 1 Provincial Finals Series that run from March 20-22, 2020 at Seven Oaks Arena.