Slave Lake’s Midget Thunder hockey team had their hands full for a short while in their March 3 league playoff opener with Athabasca. Expected to dominate, they eventually figured out what was what and won the game 8 – 4. The further they go in these playoffs, the less margin there will be for getting away with sloppy play.
Athabasca scored first, taking advantage of an abundant number of turnovers by Slave Lake. The home team struggles continued for most of two periods – they actually trailed Athabasca 4 – 1 at one point – this against a 3 – 17 team that the Thunder had crushed 13 – 2 the last time they played. But it was probably only a matter of time before that Slave Lake team showed up. Starting with 5:45 left in the second when Tyrell Barore scored, the Thunder poured in seven straight goals to finish it off.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series was Saturday in Athabasca, and this time, the Thunder took no prisoners, winning 10 – 0.
Lynele Chalifoux, William Chemago and Dominic Wapahoo each score twice. Logan Bigstone, Danen Timmann, Matthew Cardinal and Owen Pearson also scored.
Slave Lake’s next opponent had not been announced by press time.
Slave Lake’s Pee Wee 1 team moved on in provincial play on Feb. 27, beating Sexsmith 8 – 1 and winning the two-game, total-goal series by 11 – 3.
“What a way to rebound from that 8 – 0 loss on Sunday,” says coach Bumpy Churchill.
That was in the Thunder’s final regular season game against Drayton Valley.
The series against Sexsmith started with a 3 – 2 win in Slave Lake, so it could have gone either way. But the Thunder played a really good road game to leave things in no doubt. Kaleb Vanhoek scored a trio of goals for Slave Lake, with Tanner Churchill getting two and Cohen Foster, Hayden McClure and Kolby Courtorielle also getting in on the action. Damien Vyse got the win in net.
With the win, the Thunder are guaranteed a spot in the Pee Wee ‘B’ Provincials, being played in LaCrete on the March 24 weekend. They’ll first play a two-gamer against LaCrete, but win or lose, both teams are in the provincial tournament.
League playoffs against Stony Plain began this past weekend. Slave Lake won the first one 4 – 2, with goals from Tanner Churchill, Reed Churchill, Vanhoek and Foster. Back home on Sunday, the Thunder prevailed by a 5 – 2 score. Goal-scorers were Tanner Churchill, Foster, Kolby Courtorielle, Cole de Champlain and Skylar Hill.