The Elk Point Elks entered the Senior Men’s AA Hockey Provincials as the wildcard and the underdog. They had fans leaping out of their seats as they went undefeated and without any goals against during the round robin to earn themselves a spot in the gold medal game; before the opening ceremonies even began on Friday night.
Game 1 vs. Daysland Northstars
The Elks launched out of the gates Thursday evening, taking on favourite to win, Daysland. A betting man would’ve went with the Northstars, but the longshot win was in the Elks.
The club changed minds quickly with two early goals from Myles Whitford and former Cold Lake Jr. B Ice member Jean-Guy Boisvert. It was a 2-0 hockey game after 20 minutes.
“We started off a little slow,” Lee Letestu pointed out it wasn’t as easy as it looked for the boys, “we had a couple turnovers. But at the end of period we came out and adjusted accordingly.”
Letestu added if the team stuck to the basics they would have the game. Later, the tough forward would find himself ejected from the game following a third period fight that left the other with nine stitches.
But before we get to the mess that is the final minute of the third period, Myles Whitford popped in another goal for the club. It was a 3-0 final game.
Head Coach, Jordan Krankowsky, said post-game that the club will have to be consistent through the weekend to get to the gold medal game.
“We built within our system and things that I’ve tried to incorporate throughout the year. We really used a lot of speed against a big team. We did a lot of good things and tomorrow’s not going to get any easier.”
Game 2 vs Lethbridge Lightning
The following evening, the club took on the Lethbridge Lightning. Another high impact game and another shutout for Paul Laferriere.
Devin Moneta opened up scoring for the Elks in the first, thanks to a feed from Brett Bracque and Kam Ballas.
The second period saw two Elks’ goals, one each for Ryley Wozniak and Kam Ballas. It was a 3-0 game headed into the third.
Matthew Bouliane cleaned up the game with a pair of goals only minutes apart to close the game with a 5-0 win.
“It’s hard to describe,” post-game Krankowsky seemed shocked with the club’s double shutout wins, “getting offered this opportunity, you can’t ask for anything better. In theory we got cut from Provincials and now we’re getting a second chance.”
The Elks would take Saturday off to prepare for Sunday’s afternoon gold medal game. Post-game it wasn’t yet determined who the Elks would face. That would be determined late Saturday, with a win from the host club, the Bonnyville Sr. Pontiacs.
Gold Medal Game vs. Bonnyville Sr. Pontiacs
“I don’t think anyone could’ve asked for anything different,” Krankowsky chuckled in delight that the town local teams and the two teams that got in the back door (Bonnyville as hosts, rather than league champs), “it’s a great scenario for the entire Lakeland. Both teams were wildcards, lower seeds, if you will and now we’re getting things done.”
“It’s going to be a mental game, for both sides,” Krankowsky predicted that the club with the level head would triumph.
The Pontiacs proved to be tougher competition for the club, with a 6-2 win over them. The Elks would wear the silver medal after 60 minutes of play.
The Elks were down 2-0 after 20 minutes of play, a position that is deadly for most clubs. Defenseman Mark Brobin, said the game was far from over.
“We just gotta keep skating. The guys are out there, giving it their all. We’re still in, we’re doing all the right things, we just have to keep going.”
Although the Elks were able to put past two goals, one each from Kam Ballas and Myles Whitford, the Pontiacs matched and exceeded. With three goals for the opposition in the second, it was a 5-2 hockey game after 40 minutes.
The Pontiacs would head out and put another in the third for a 6-2 final game.