The Swan Valley Midget Stampeders have finished up their season in the Parkissimo Hockey League on top of the charts, going undefeated all season long with 15 wins and one tie in the books, tallying up 31 points total.
“It was fun and truly amazing to be a part of this year,” said Head Coach Cody Manchester. “This team has come a long way from start to finish.
“We didn’t have many athletes sign up at the start of the year, but as the season kicked off, we gained more and more, ending up with 15 skaters and three goalies. What they have done this year with their hard work, determination, and focus was fantastic. The team did pay attention to the stats all year – some more than others – which kept them focused right up until the final buzzer rang in Minitonas against McCreary.”
Other than the near perfect record in the standings, Manchester added that one of the big highlights of the year was a tournament in Gimli where they lost the first game, only to regroup and come back even harder to win the next two.
“This year, the league – for the most part – was competitive,” he said. “Each team had some talented, hard-working players to contend with. Our team never quit, showing hard-working attitudes in practices that helped them in many situations during games to continue the success they all wanted to have this year.
“I’ve been teaching everyone TEAM first all year. All of them contributed in different ways throughout the year.”
Following up a successful season is the first round of the playoffs, in which the Midget Stampeders take on the Winnipegosis Tigers.
“(Winnipegosis) has size, the body, and the scoring talent,” said Manchester. “We have played them six times this year, and know what it takes to beat them.
“Our team is ready to go and is very anxious about the playoffs.”
Game 1 against Winnipegosis was played on Sunday (Feb. 12), in which Swan Valley won with a score of 8-5. Two goals were scored by Kristen Bender, two from Keenan Tripp, and one each from Ethan Campbell, Mike Clemenson, and Dylan Chernyk. Cody Clarkson got the win in net.
“Winnipegosis came out flying in a way that caught our boys off guard,” said Manchester. “(They) started out flat, but picked it up in the second (period) and carried the play for most of the game. It was a great end to hard-hitting action all the way through.”
Game 2 of the three-game series will be played in Winnipegosis on Saturday (Feb. 18) at 7 p.m.. If necessary, a third and final game will be confirmed at a later time.