Now is the time of the year when I turn my attention to the junior hockey playoffs. I frequent the local arenas and have also made excursions to Portage and Selkirk to experience real grassroots hockey. Believe me, it is worth the trip. Here's how things stand.
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PORTAGE TERRIERS -
(Portage already won series 4-0.)
The Terriers shifted from the Sherwood Division (western Manitoba) to the Addison Division (eastern Manitoba including Winnipeg). This was part of the reason why the Addison was the dominant division this year. In any event, this rematch of last year's final (won by Portage) was touted as a tough series. Portage led the league with 89 points and 4th place Selkirk had 76. But Portage won the series handily. There was one overtime game, however the rest were convincing wins for the Puppies.
WINNIPEG BLUES -
(Blues already won series 4-0.)
As disappointing as was the Portage-Selkirk series, this one was worse. The Blues were 2nd with 81 points and the Flyers were 3rd with 78. On paper, this was a pick-'em.
As of yet, the dates for the Addison final between the Terriers and Blues have not been announced. I really hope I am able to attend some of these games. It should be a great series, and hopefully a long one. IMO these two teams are the best two in Manitoba this year.
DAUPHIN KINGS 3
WINNIPEG SAINTS 6
(Saints win series 4-1.)
I was listening to CKDM on-line
for most of this one. It took the Kings just over 3 minutes to build a 2-0 lead. However, the Saints were able to gain a 3-2 lead before the period was even over. They then pulled away and won the game and the series in convincing fashion.
The Saints crossed over from the Addison to participate in the Sherwood playoffs because that is what happens when the 5th place team in one division has a better record than the 4th place team from the opposite division. Still, Dauphin had 87 points and the Saints 74, so by any measure this was an upset.
There are many in the Addison who envied the Saints' 5th place finish for that reason. However, the Saints will have to spend a lot of time on the bus next round when they will be traveling back and forth to either Swan River or The Pas.
Of course, this series will go down in history as the series where Dauphin coach Marlin Murray lost his mind during a game 4 loss. The MJHL announced
that he got two games for receiving a gross misconduct and a ten game suspension for receiving a match penalty for "physical harassment of officials". His stick-tossing even made it on to TSN
. The video is also at The Sun
with a story by Kirk Penton. They also ran a follow-up story
. Not to be outdone, the Free Press
ran a story by Adam Wazny, one from The Canadian Press
, and a staff story on the suspension
OCN BLIZZARD -
SWAN VALLEY STAMPEDERS -
(OCN leads series 3-2.)
The underdogs from Swan built a surprising 2-0 lead. The Blizz are on a 3-game roll and game 6 goes Sunday in Swan. The Blizzard had 69 points and Swan just snuck into the playoffs with 62. So they were #7 and #8 overall in the league.
I am not sure if the radio call will be available on-line. But GX940
from Yorkton carries some games from Wayway and Swan. More likely, the game will be on CJ1240 / The Pas Online
. Check it at 7:30 CDT. (We spring forward this weekend!)
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CHARLESWOOD HAWKS -
ST. BONIFACE RIELS -
(Charleswood leads series 2-0.)
The Riels snuck into the playoffs with a win over St. James on the final night. They tied with River East but held the tie-breaker. But Charleswood had 69 points on the season to 24 for St. B., so it is no surprise that the Hawks have won 5-1
so far. Game 3 goes Sunday the Eric Coy Arena.
RAIDERS J.H.C. -
ST. JAMES CANUCKS -
(Raiders lead series 2-0.)
Not so long ago the Seven Oaks Raiders appeared to be ready to go under. Now they are a solid #2 in the MM. They have racked up 6-3
wins. Not surprising, since the RJHC had 57 points and St.James had 26. Game 3 is Sunday at the Billy Mosienko Arena.
FORT GARRY/FORT ROUGE TWINS -
PEMBINA VALLEY TWISTERS -
(Series tied 1-1.)
The Twins lost last year's final to Charleswood and had a good season, finishing with 52 points in 3rd place. The Twisters were 6th at 45 points and so this figured to be a tighter match-up. Game one went to FGFR 3-2 in overtime
and the Twisters gained revenge in game two with a 6-3
win. Game 3 is Sunday at the Century Arena, former home of the Blues.
STONEWALL JETS -
ST. VITAL VICTORIAS -
(Stonewall leads series 2-0.)
On paper this would be the toughest match-up. Stonewall had 48 points and the Vics had 46. But Stonewall has thus far posted 5-2
wins. Game 3 is Sunday in Stonewall.