At the end of March, Winnipeg is all playoffs and a privilege if you are still in the mix. The Bantam 1 age group embarked on the next part of their journey on the way to competing at the Western Bantam Championship.
The Southwest Cougars took on the Winnipeg Hawks in a best of 3 games. The first game on Friday night was a barn burner, requiring extra time. The Hawks managed to emerge victorious with a 7-6 win in overtime, truly any teams game. The Cougars and Hawks were back and forth from start to finish.
The next day both team were back at East End Arena, the Hawks were in position to end it in two. The game delivered high-speed, hard hitting, emotionally charged hockey that kept the crowd on their feet. The first period was scoreless as both teams worked fast breaks through the neutral zone.
The Cougars played a great offensive upside, as well as a bone crushing physical game. The Hawks stayed true to their structure, taking hits to make the play, often stretching out their offense for the defense to send forwards on breaks at the blue line off the wall.
The emotions ran high and the penalties began to stack up for the Cougars, giving the Hawks scoring opportunity and time with puck possession, shifting the momentum. In the second period there were 6 goals in total, the Hawks leading the Cougars 4 to 2 heading into the third period.
The Southwest Cougars had a great work ethic all game. They made their case in the first half of the final frame, tying the game up 4-4. However, the Hawks managed to score 2 quick goals and revert back to shut down defense for the final minutes of the period. The Cougars had one last chance to make their case on a Power-play, but the Hawks finished strong with a 6-4 win and a ticket to the Western Canadian Bantam Championship.
The WCBC takes play in Kamloops, BC from March 29 – April 1st.