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Crusaders capture AAAA hockey title

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Members of the St. Paul's Crusaders celebrate a 4-1 win over the River East Kodiaks in the AAAA Provincial High School Hockey Championship at St. James Civic Centre Monday night.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Members of the St. Paul's Crusaders celebrate a 4-1 win over the River East Kodiaks in the AAAA Provincial High School Hockey Championship at St. James Civic Centre Monday night. Photo Store

The St. Paul’s Crusaders rolled through their high school hockey season almost undefeated and now they will go out as champions.

On Monday night, the Crusaders battled out a 4-1 win over the River East Kodiaks to claim the AAAA provincial high school hockey crown.

The score doesn’t quite tell the story of what happened on the ice at St. James Civic Centre, as the teams stayed tight through much of the match. They kept the first period scoreless, though not without its chances, and River East goalie Miles Piche and Crusaders netminder Ben Thorlakson turned in fine performances.

But two quick second-period goals from J.P. Lovell launched the Crusaders up 2-0 and the Kodiaks struggled to bite back. Crusaders forward Ryan Hutton would add another marker in the third.

The Kodiaks responded with a goal from Tristan Beach-Ducharme. Nolan Wisniewski earned an assist on that marker.

The Kodiaks fought for another goal late in the third after the Crusaders' Brandon Paradoski took a penalty with just over two minutes left in the period. But after a goalmouth scramble the puck squirted loose and St. Paul’s Cole Zadro sent it shooting down the ice for the empty-net goal.

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