The Lakeland Panthers pose for a team photo after winning the NABHL championship.
“It feels good in the shorts right now.”
That was Lakeland Panthers Bantam AA head coach Shaun Hebert after his team poured their water bottles on him after their 6-2 victory against Sherwood Park that secured the league championship.
In full celebration mode, the Panthers were able to take care of business on home ice with a pair of wins this weekend and soaked in the moment on the ice after the game.
After a disappointing loss in Provincials to Wheatland, Hebert says the team was hungry.
“These kids deserved it. After coming off a tough loss in Provincials and a silver medal against the Wheatland team these boys were a little hungry to win a championship. We’ve come a long way this year. These kids work hard.
“They wanted it. They know what it takes to put the effort in. They know what it takes to win hockey games and they know what it takes to win at life. I’m super happy with these guys and the work effort they put in,” said Hebert.
Captain Noah Dechaine said the championship feels great after the silver in Provincials.
“When we lost in the final everybody was down, so now we had the chance to play another team and we just played stronger I guess, and we did good,” said Dechaine.
Goaltender Ethan Farrow faced only 14 shots in the pivotal Game 2.
“It feels so great. I can’t even put it into words.
“It wasn’t too hard of shots. I had my defense to thank for that. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Farrell.
The victory caps off an extremely successful season for the Panthers.
“Our goalie through the year stood out. Our captain Noah Dechaine. Our leaders Jonah Smith, CJ Foisy, Liam Boyko, all these kids came together at the right time of the season,” said Shaun Hebert.
“I’m super proud of all these kids all they’ve done. I’m more proud of them for the men they’re going to be than the hockey players that they are going to be as well. As a coach, I take pride in that. At the end of the day, they’re the kids on the ice doing the work, I’m just the guy guiding them.”