Peguis Juniors player, Luke Penner was named the Keystone Cup’s top goaltender at the The Keystone Cup is the Junior “B” ice hockey championship April 19 to 22. The championship is the culmination of the champions of 12 hockey leagues in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Northwestern Ontario. Pictured: Luke Penner protects the net while his team, the Peguis Juniors, defeated the St. Malo Warriors in Game 5 of the 2017-18 KJHL championship final, April 11. The Juniors claimed the championship trophy on home ice, as they celebrated their third championship title in as many years.
It was a big weekend for the KJHL champion team at the 2018 Keystone Cup, coach Kevin Monkman told The Interlake Spectator.
“We started off kind of slow with losing the first two games and then we really picked it up on Saturday morning,” Monkman said. “The guys really came through and we won two games, the games that we needed to win, and we finished second overall in the round robin part - and then we lost to the host team, the Thunder Bay Northern Hawks - in the finals. But it was a good game and overall it was a good weekend for us.”
After winning the 2017-18 KJHL playoffs, April 11, on home ice, the team was elated.
“It was an awesome feeling, second year for me, the three peat for them. It was great,” Monkman said. “So I think being the guys had to be ready every game, because in my mind we were the team to beat this year - and so every team seamed to be ready, bringing their best game to play against us.”
The Junior’s coach said that this year was tougher for winning because after winning the last two years in a row, they were expected to win.
In the mid afternoon of April 19, the Juniors were defeated 2-7 by the Thunder Bay Fighting Walleye.
Later that evening, their rivals in the KJHL finals, the St. Malo Warriors were also defeated by an Ontario team, 1 to 7, for the Thunder Bay Northern Hawks.
The next day, in the early afternoon of April 20, both Manitoban teams came back with a fury. The early afternoon game was dominated by St. Malo Warriors, taking a victory from Thunder Bay Fighting Walleye 3-1.
However, that same evening the Peguis Juniors just couldn’t quite tie the game at six to the Thunder Bay Northern Hawks at the end of the regulation.
Rising early for a 9 a.m. start April 21, the Juniors finally came around to their championship status and wrestled back their confidence from an old yet recent rival, the St. Malo Warriors, whom they defeated in the finals just two weeks prior on April 11. Peguis took an 8-1 victory.
After the Manitoba teams rumbled, the two Ontario teams battled hard in the early afternoon, the Thunder Bay Northern Hawks owning their victory against Thunder Bay Fighting Walleye 9-3.
That evening, the semifinal game went to the Juniors against the Fighting Walleye 3 to 6, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind whom the champion teams were from each province.
The Gold Medal Game on the final afternoon at 2:15 p.m. EST April 22 went to the Thunder Bay Northern Hawks 5-2 against the Juniors.
“Our goal tender, Luke Penner, got best goalie. He played well - and a few of the guys that played really well on the weekend (were) a couple guys from Lake Manitoba, Storm Swan and Paul Romano. And Ethan Daniels from Peguis - well, I mean everyone played well,” Monkman added.
Monkman was named CTV’s coach of the month for making the four hour round-trip drive from Winnipeg to Peguis to work with his team.
“Overall it was a great experience. We had a slow start, but came on strong as the weekend went on. Playing in the finals was one goal that we had as a team since we’ve been to the Keystone Cup the previous year,” Monkman said.
The KJHL season will start back up again in September of this year.