Monday , 23 May 2022

St. Paul Canadiens advance to NEAJBHL final

It’s been a long time coming for the St. Paul Canadiens, but now the team will get the chance to play for the NEAJBHL title.

The Canadiens ousted the Killam Wheat Kings on the road Sunday night by a 5-1 margin to take the series in six games. Nico Beaudoin scored a pair of first period goals, and Matthew MacDonald, Kurtis Labant, and Logan Higdon added the scoring, to put away Killam.

The win means the Canadiens get to play the Wainwright Bisons for the championship, and more importantly, punches their ticket to Junior B Provincials at the end of March.

“First off, what a series by Killam. They were super physical. And we wanted to be physical as well. We knew it was going to be a battle from the very beginning,” said Coach Shawn Germain after the game. 

“And I think our depth really helped in the end. We were able to roll four lines for the most part and some of our guys really stepped up that maybe don’t get the limelight that like a Labant or a Beaudoin get.” 

Ethin Campbell made 33 of 34 saves in his first start of the series to secure the victory, after appearing in Game 5 midway through the game. The Canadiens also persevered through a hot goaltender in Ty Marcinkowski, who was a big reason why the series went as long as it did.

“We just tried to do some simple things like get to the net, get our point shots through which was difficult as well. They blocked a ton of shots. But he did, he played phenomenal and sometimes you just have to tip your hat and do what you can to grind it out. And I thought we did a pretty good job of staying with that and finding a way to win,” said Germain. 

That’s what you need to win a playoff series like this against a very good team, is you need your best players to step up and they really have for us. Obviously Labs [Kurtis Labant] has been playing super physical and putting the puck in the net for us and Beauds [Beaudoin] just does what he does. He controls the play. You can put him in any situation and he’s successful.” 

The Wainwright Bisons will have home ice advantage in the final. They swept the Vermilion Tigers after 9-2 and 10-2 routs in Games 3 and 4. No dates have been confirmed yet for the final series but are expected soon.

“They’ve been in the bar of this league for a long, long time. They’re a fantastic hockey club. We’re gonna go in there and try and play our game as best we can and see how things shake out. We’ll throw what we can at them and see where it goes,” said Germain. 

Two years ago, the Canadiens were set to take on the Lac La Biche Clippers in the final, but government restrictions and the beginning of the pandemic hit and all activities were cancelled.

Final 3 minutes of Game 6

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.