Friday , 9 June 2023
The U18 Lakeland Jaguars celebrate with their Provincial banner. Image credit: Lakeland Jaguars.

U18 Jaguars excel at Provincials for gold, U13s take silver

Lakeland Jaguars take home hardware for U18 and U13s. 

Mission accomplished for the U18 Lakeland Jaguars. 

With heavy hearts and a clear focus on what the group wanted to achieve, the girls did not disappoint as Provincials hosts, and skated away undefeated at the tournament with gold medals around their necks. 

“It was nice to have everybody step up,” said forward Hannah Thorne. “There were some coaches that needed to come through even more and they really proved that they could do that. And of course, all the parents there for all of us holding us up together. And well, the team of course,” she said. 

Playing for their coach Darrell Desjarlais who passed away at the beginning of the season, the Jaguars entered Provincials on a 17-game winning streak and having lost just twice all year. 

The Jaguars began the tournament with a 6-0 romp over Fairview, but on the second game of Thursday faced tough competition in the Leduc Roughnecks. 

Down 2-1 in the second period, Cierra Nuttall potted the equalizer, and the game winner midway through the 3rd to take a 3-2 win.  

Lakeland filled the net in their final round-robin game against Beaverlodge earning a 8-3 win to advance to the semi-finals to take on the GHC Inferno from Calgary on Sunday morning. 

It was not close. Already ahead 4-0 after 40 minutes, the Jaguars fired five more goals home to win 9-0. Emma Naim and Hannah Thorne each scored a pair of goals. 

“It was pretty great. A pretty proud moment,” said Naim after being named player of the game. 

The victory set up a final against a familiar foe in the Lloydminster Blazers. 

The game was tight with a scoreless first period. But the icebreaker couldn’t have happened any better. 

Sydney Desjarlais, who was playing for her father, scored the game’s first goal at 6:49 of the second period. It stood as the game-winner as the Jags earned back-to-back shutouts and beat their rivals 4-0 to take gold. 

“He was a big part of our team. She scored the opening goal to the final, it was a big deal. It was nice just to see that,” said Thorne. 

The Jags allowed just five goals against all tournament, and the shutout earned Ava Pinch the MVP award in the gold medal game. 

“It’s definitely the environment that we kind of created for ourselves, with all our coaches, and everybody who helped us get through everything. We only lost two games in the whole season. So I think we kind of just wanted to keep our heads held high and just keep winning,” said Naim. 

Julianna Bateman and Cierra Nuttall each finished as the tournament’s leading scorers with 10 points in the five games.

U13 Jaguars win silver as wildcard

The Lakeland Jaguars U13 team with their silver medals. Image credit: Lakeland Jaguars.

The U13 Jaguars completed their season in Calgary and found their way into the championship game.

Beating the Red Deer Chiefs in the tournament kickoff game, the Jags unloaded on their opponents in the next two games, trouncing the GHC Inferno host team 13-0, and then taming the Fort Saskatchewan Fury in a 16-0 romp.

That set up a semi-final against Grande Prairie that the Jags won with ease, scoring seven straight goals to win 7-1.

The gold medal game was set up against the Irma Aces, the team they lost to in the league finals, and it was not meant to be. The Aces scored two 1st period goals en route to a 4-0 shutout — the Jaguars taking home the silver medal.

It was a strong showing for the northeast, as all four teams in the Provincial finals were from the area.

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.