South Peace News
High Prairie remains the best in West!
As many predicted, the High Prairie Red Wings captured their second straight West Division championship in the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League last week.
Ranked No. 1 in the GMHL, High Prairie crushed the hometown Edson Eagles 11-1 on March 28 to sweep the best-of-seven final series in four straight wins.
Theo Cunningham scored five goals in the final game, including a hat trick in the first 15 minutes of the game, as the Red Wings led 6-0 after the opening period.
Mikal Chalifoux added a pair while other goals were scored by Dylan Bellerose, Keaton Auger, Braydan Auger and Dayton Shantz.
Keygon Okemow was the winning goaltender as the Red Wings outshot the Eagles 55-30.
High Prairie dominated the series as they outscored the Eagles 33-10.
Head coach Trent Meyaard gives top marks to the team.
“We played our best hockey in the playoffs and deserved the championship; full credit to the players,” says Meyaard, in his first season with the Red Wings.
“I’m so proud of this organization, the players, the volunteers, the fans, the community support; a one-of-a-kind organization.”
He also recognized owner Kevin Hopfner, who was the head coach when the Red Wings won their first title in 2020-21.
“Kevin deserves a huge round of applause for all his efforts all season,” Meyaard says.
“Without Kevin, this season does not happen.”
The Red Wing defeated the Eagles 8-2 in Edson on March 26 in the third game of the series.
Braydan Auger scored two goals for the Red Wings, who led 3-1 after the first period and 5-2 after the second period.
Reece Hopfner, Kaiden Desjarlais, Kelton Noskiye, Nolan Noskey and Chalifoux also scored.
The Red Wings outshot the Eagles 41-39 as Okemow covered the High Prairie cage.
High Prairie wraps up the season undefeated in eight playoff games after a regular season record of 40-1. They were truly the dominant team in the league all season.
The Red Wings won their first 36 games of the season that extended their winning streak to 60 games over two seasons.
However, the Red Wings may still have a few games left, Meyaard says.
The GMHL plans to host an GMHL final series between the Red Wings and the winner of a series between the champions of the North Division and the South Division in Ontario and Quebec.
“We want to play them and I’m sure they want to play us,” Meyaard says.
He notes West Division co-ordinator Derek Prue is working with the teams to host a short series on a weekend in a location about halfway between High Prairie and the community of the other winner.
Last summer, the GMHL announced plans for the league’s first national championship tournament planned for Temiscaming, with the host and top team in each of the three divisions.
However, COVID-19 remains a concern in both Ontario and Quebec, Meyaard says.