What an amazing year of hockey the 2018-2019 season was! This season saw the Warriors defeat the Monarchs at the Bantam 2 level to win the city championship. The Monarchs won the city championship against the Sharks but be defeated in the provincial finals by the Eastman Selects who had won the rural championship at Bantam 1. Finally the Monarchs narrowly defeated the Sharks to take home the U17 Prep league title. To go along with all of this amazing team success, there were many individual success stories. These individuals were highlighted at the Annual AAA Year end and Awards Banquet at the Canad-Inns Polo Park. See below for a list of all the individual champions:
Defenceman of the Year:
Bantam 2- Blake Jones (Monarchs) and Andrew Hladun (Hawks)
Bantam 1- Sam Court (Monarchs)
U17 Prep- Aiden Forrest (Monarchs)
Provincial U18- Matthew Shatsky (Wild)
Forward of the Year:
Bantam 2- Jayden Perron (Warriors)
Bantam 1- Michael Cicek (Monarchs)
U17 Prep- Adam Ingram (Hawks)
Provincial U18- Kaden Bryant (Wild)
Goalie of the Year:
Bantam 2- Francois Gagnon (Eastman Selects)
Bantam 1- Matthew Kieper (Sharks)
U17 Prep- Ashton Howarth (Sharks)
Provincial U18- Carson Cherepak (Wild)
Hardest Working Player
Bantam 2- Hayden Chaloner (Sharks) and Joshua Degagne (Hawks)
Bantam 1- Mathew Renville (Warriors)
U17 Prep- Ty Earl (Wheat Kings)
Provincial U18- Braden Huminuk (Thrashers)
Most Valuable Player
Bantam 2- Lucas Hansen (Warriors)
Bantam 1- Matthew Kieper (Sharks)
U17 Prep- Rhonan White (Sharks)
Provincial U18- Reese Belton (Wild)
Bruins- Jordan Woods
Thrashers- Andrew Hopko
Wild- Ethan Robson
Impact Player of the Year
Connor Roulette (Thrashers)
Coach of the Year
Paul Kruger (Wild)
Congratulations to all the award recipients and a job well done to all the nominees and players around the leagues.
Other notable new from the awards banquet:
The names of the leagues have been changed:
With the U17 league becoming a prep league for the U18 Provincial league, the zones within the U17 leagues will now follow the U18 Provincial boundaries. This means that there will now only be 3 U17 teams within the city. Each team will have the same name as their corresponding U18 Provincial teams (Wild, Thrashers, Bruins).
The Bantam 2 finals this year came down to the Monarchs taking on a red-hot Warriors. Coming into this series the Warriors were perfect through the first round, eliminating the Sharks in four games straight to advance to the finals. The Monarchs had a longer and more taxing series against the Hawks which the Monarchs were able to win in a game 7 to move onto the finals.
Throughout the first two game of the series, the Warriors seemed to have it their way defeating the Monarchs handily 7-1 and 6-1 in game 1 and 2. During game three the Monarchs came alive and fought back from being down and were narrowly defeated by a score of 4-3. This would setup for an exciting game four that was do or die for the Monarchs.
With a depleted roster the Monarchs looked to avenge their earlier defeats against the powerful Warriors and add another game to the series. The game started out with the Warriors continuing their offensive dominance with Lukas Hansen getting the opening goal. Sensing the importance of the game the Monarchs pushed back against the Warriors scoring their own set of goals minutes apart. The first of the Monarchs goals came from Kai Elkie on the power play just before the midway point of the period. Still riding a wave of momentum, the Monarchs struck again not even a minute later. Kai Elkie is able to find the back of the net for a second time and putting his team up by a score of 2-1 which stayed through the remainder of the first period.
Not wanting to give up a goal to the Warriors, the Monarchs locked down play in their own zone. The Warriors were able to sneak through the Monarchs tough defence and get some scoring chances during the second period, but none were good enough to get past the stellar play of Monarchs netminder Nate Grant, who faced 50 shots in the game and held the score at 2-1 through 40 minutes.
With only 20 minutes standing between victory and forcing a game 5, the Monarchs looked to maintain the same defensive play that had carried them through a scoreless second period. The Warriors, sensing that the Monarchs had been worn thin looked to pounce on the chance to score in the final period. Seven minutes into the period, with the Warriors having hemmed the Monarchs into their zone, Blake Gortezki gets the puck on his stick at the top of the zone, walks down the wall to the face off dot and unleashes a rocket that flies right by the ear of the Monarchs goaltender and into the top corner, the game was now tied 2-2. With the Warriors sensing a weakness in the Monarchs they look to attack again quickly and solidify their championship. After some back and forth play by both teams, the Warriors’ Chase Simon gets the puck on his stick. Simon, seeing the defenceman backing in, puts his shoulder down and drives to the net, he shoots the puck from the top of the crease and it somehow finds the back of the net through a screen of Monarchs defencemen. With this goal the Warriors find themselves leading the game for the first time since early in the first period by a score of 3-2. It was now the Monarchs turn to push for a goal to even things up, but with 7 minutes left on the clock time was not on their side. With sustained pressure in the Warriors zone the Monarchs elect to pull their goalie for an extra attacker. The Warriors are able to chip the puck out of their zone and get relief in the dying seconds. As the final buzzer rang out, the gloves, sticks and helmets of the Warriors rained down on the ice. They had won the game 3-2 and had now captured the Bantam 2 City Championship banner and trophy.
On behalf of AAA Hockey Winnipeg, we would like to congratulate the Warriors on winning the Championship as well as the Monarchs and all of the other teams in the league for their amazing seasons! We look forward to seeing all of you around the rink next season.