For the second straight year, the Peguis Juniors are Keystone Junior Hockey League champions.
Theoren Spence scored twice and added three assists in the 6-1 title-clinching victory over the Arborg Ice Dawgs in game six at the Peguis Multiplex Centre April 8.
The Juniors won the series 4-2 and have hoisted the Baldy Northcott Trophy as KJHL – and provincial Junior ‘B’ champions – for the fifth time in team history.
Despite finishing the regular season in fifth place, Juniors head coach Kevin Monkman believed his team could repeat as champions.
“The returning players we had and players that came in this year, we knew we were going to be a competitive team,” he wrote in an email to The Interlake Spectator. “Discipline and sticking to our game plan; when we do those, it gives us an opportunity to compete every game.”
Both the Juniors and Ice Dawgs will renew their acquaintance when they open the 2017 Keystone Cup – the western Canadian Junior ‘B’ championship – with a round-robin game at the Arborg and District Arena April 13 at 9 a.m. At last year’s Keystone Cup, Peguis finished fifth out of six teams.
Peguis opened the scoring in game six with Spence’s power play goal at 2:27 of the first period. The Juniors later took four straight penalties in the period, killing all of them.
The Juniors extended their lead with Devon Garson’s marker at 5:26 of the middle frame.
Romano Paul scored 24 seconds into the third for a 3-0 Peguis lead, but Colton Davies replied for Arborg at 13:32. Keifer Tacan restored the Juniors’ three-goal advantage with his marker at 14:43. Devun Groot added another goal for Peguis with 1:09 left and Spence scored his second with 22 seconds remaining.
Luke Penner made 26 saves for the Juniors in the victory, while Jordan Liske of Arborg stopped 29 shots in the loss.
Game 4: Juniors 3 Ice Dawgs 2
Paul scored with 2:27 remaining to give Peguis a 3-2 win in game four and a 3-1 series lead at the Peguis Multiplex Centre April 4.
Spence and Garson also scored for the Juniors. Jordan Kristjanson and Spencer Kilbrei were the goal scorers for the Ice Dawgs. Penner made 32 saves for the win, while Liske stopped 38 shots in a losing cause.
Game 5: Ice Dawgs 4 Juniors 2
The Ice Dawgs staved off elimination with a 4-2 victory in game five at the Arborg and District Arena April 6.
Kristjanson, Travis Kilbrei, Clint Torfason and Corbin Pasternak all scored for Arborg. Paul and Keesin Richard tallied for Peguis. Liske made 35 saves to keep his team alive, while Penner was peppered, making 56 saves in the loss.