The St. Paul Canadiens season has come to an end after tough tests at Junior B Provincials hosted in Wainwright over the weekend.
“I’m really proud of our guys. They’ve been a really resilient group this year. Talent-wise we probably weren’t in the top of the province, but heart, effort and character I thought we were. A really good learning experience for a lot of these kids,” said Shawn Germain.
In the 8-team tournament, the Canadiens were grouped with the Fort St. John Huskies, Cochrane Generals, and the Beaumont Chiefs in round-robin play.
The Canadiens bid began on Thursday against the Chiefs. After falling behind early 2-0, St. Paul began storming back, and seized a 4-3 lead in the 3rd period thanks to Ty Stanski. However, Brett Thompson beat Brad Mistol upstairs to tie the game, which ended in a 4-4 draw.
There was a scary moment that luckily didn’t result in serious injury. Mistol got bumped into and an errant skate cut him in the thigh. The Canadiens netminder got stitched up and in fact returned to start the final round-robin game.
The Canadiens got the Friday night contest against the Cochrane Generals. Despite falling behind 26 seconds into the game, Brody Green responded on the doorstep with an equalizer.
St. Paul got into some penalty trouble in the 2nd period, allowing the Generals offence to garner momentum. The Generals fired home a pair of markers in the frame to take a 3-1 lead.
That lead to a wild back-and-forth 3rd period. William Chemago scored just two minutes into the period and Brody Green buried his second of the contest to tie the game.
Tristan Ripplinger’s skate was the beneficiary of the 4th goal of the game for Cochrane, but St. Paul completed their third comeback of the game with Brayden Labant winning a foot race and potting the 4-4 goal with a little over 9 minutes left in the period.
But it was the Generals who eventually pulled away, as the leading scorer in all Junior B leagues, Patrick Forde, made no mistake en route to the 5-4 Cochrane victory.
Heading into their final game against Fort St. John, the Canadiens needed a win to advance to semi-finals.
Their first period’s betrayed them though in the tournament, as the Huskies scored three unanswered after 20 minutes. Nico Beaudoin had his best game of the tourney, scoring his first goal and then setting up Janson Pashniak on the powerplay to draw within one. Fort St. John quickly responded two minutes later to re-establish their multi-goal lead.
The Canadiens emptied the tank in the 3rd period, scored with 2:54 left in regulation from Brayden Labant, but with the extra attacker on the ice, the Huskies buried an empty-netter to take the contest 5-3.
Fort St. John ended up winning the Provincial gold medal by getting past Okotoks and slapping Cochrane 6-0 in the final.
St. Paul finished the round-robin 0-2-1.
The NEAJBHL league winning Wainwright Bisons went 1-2 in round-robin, finishing outside of the semi-finals.