WINNIPEG — A better period or two they have not had this season and the Stonewall Rams are off to a big start at the AAAA Provincial High School Hockey Championships at the St. James Civic Centre.
The Rams spanked the Westman champion Crocus Plains Plainsmen of Brandon 6-3 this afternoon.
Earlier in the day, Crocus Plains had taken down the Winnipeg city champion John Taylor Pipers 3-2 in overtime.
Stonewall had two goals each from Bryce Sholdice and Dylan Tyerman plus singles from Lyle Ogilvie and Bob Procter in forging ahead 6-1 by early in the third period.
Jackson Wallis of the Plainsmen had the game’s first goal mid-way through the first, but the Rams responded within 30 seconds, had a 3-1 lead after one and made it 4-1 early in the second.
"It started with our defensive zone," said Rams co-coach Andrew Michaluk. "Then it showed on the scoresheet. We sure had some finish."
With an evening matchup against John Taylor still to come, and the top two teams from the three-team pool to advance to Saturday’s semifinals, Michaluk wouldn’t rule out his players taking their eye off a big lead in the afternoon game for a moment or two.
"It’s in the back of your mind and you might slow down just a bit," Michaluk said. "You just try to keep them focused, go one shift at a time."
The Rams, now 14-26-1 on the season, have been peaking heading into the tournament, he added, including knocking defending Manitoba champion St. Paul’s out of the city playoffs.
Tonight’s game has plenty of meaning. John Taylor needs a win or its tournament is done. The teams have had intense games all season long.