Warriors defeated in bid to play at provincials

The Wheatland Warriors U15AA hockey team was defeated in their bout against the Bow Valley Timberwolves, battling for the league title and a chance to go to the provincial championship.

After winning the South Championship, the Warriors and the Timberwolves battled in a best-of-three series for all the marbles. Unfortunately for the locals, the Warriors dropped Game 1 in Cochrane 8-4 on March 9 before losing 4-2 on home ice in Game 2 on March 11.

Though the result was not what the team had hoped for, Head Coach Clay Armstrong said the boys have lots to be proud of, both with their performance on the ice and for becoming the South Conference Champions.

“As a coaching staff, we are extremely proud of this group of young men. Losing is never a good thing, but we gave it all we had and that was a hell of a hockey game,” he said. “They left it up there, Bow Valley is an excellent hockey team and we went toe to toe with them. We had our chances, I am very proud of the team, and they can walk out of there with their heads held high.”

The Timberwolves largely had control of the game, taking and maintaining a lead through the first two periods, and started the third with 3-1 lead.

As it came down to the last legs of the game, the Warriors took an early goal, bringing the score to 3-2 and gunning hard to take the Timberwolves to overtime.

With minutes left on the clock, the Timberwolves sealed the deal scoring on a breakaway.

Despite the results, Armstrong said he believes the boys brought their absolute best to the ice and played their best game of the year.

Going forward, he said there is always more to work on and he is excited to see his team move on to do great things as they develop their careers.

“About half our guys are second years and about half are first years. The way they played, some of the first years have a pretty good chance of playing AAA next year and we will not see them again. If that is the case, that is awesome,” said Armstrong.

Already thinking about next season, Armstrong said he is looking to strike a repeat performance and take the South Conference Championship again and making a run for provincials.

“We are going to stay the course. We will be doing the same thing. We won in the South, we were in the league finals. There are some little things we would have changed throughout the year, but we will play basically the same,” said Armstrong. “As a coaching staff, and I hope the parents are extremely proud of these young men because they’ve matured well this year. We’re very, very proud of them.”

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times