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End Crusaders' high school hockey dynasty

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It just wasn't meant to be. The Westwood Warriors made sure it didn't happen as they snapped the St. Paul's Crusaders' quest for a fourth straight Winnipeg High School Hockey League championship to begin their own run at a Platinum Promotions Division dynasty with a 3-2 shootout victory Wednesday night at the MTS Centre.

The Warriors served notice of their intentions back in October when they hammered the Crusaders 8-2, but the teams split their two season matchups when the Crusaders came back later to win 4-1.

Wednesday's final was the rubber match.

"This is my third year playing for Westwood," said goalie Erik Swar, who was brilliant in turning aside 23 St. Paul's shots, "and finally in my final year we made it to the finals, and we won it all."

The teams played a scoreless first period but the Crusaders came out in the second playing physically and jumped ahead 2-0 on goals by Ryan Corbett and Daniel Fainman.

Westwood roared back in the third. James Hillier got the Warriors on the board and Mike Perroff scored the tying goal with less than half a minute remaining in regulation.

"I was just lucky enough to get the puck on the net, and I just shoved it in," explained Perroff. "It's just that plain and simple. I can't describe the feeling, I've never scored a more important goal in my life."

The Warriors won the shootout 3-2 with Brendan Luschinski notching the game-winner.

Spartans 4 Wolverines 2

A pair of goals by John Smith, the second with less than a minute remaining in the game, vaulted the Sisler Spartans to a 4-2 win over the West Kildonan Wolverines in the Winnipeg Free Press Division 2 title game.

It didn't hurt the Spartans' cause that the Wolverines took a pair of penalties seconds apart in the third period, enabling Sisler to go ahead 3-1 on a pair of power-play goals by Smith and the second of two by Trenton Fuerst.

West Kildonan goal scorers were Devan Van Wyk and Brett Brooks.

"I don't score a lot of goals, but those two meant a lot," said Smith, 16. "I've been waiting for this my whole life. Sixteen years and not one championship. I never even made the semis in all my life. I'm ecstatic right now. Hopefully there are more to come."

Smith couldn't say if the two power-play goals were a turning point, but he felt that the mood in the dressing room between the second and third period was. "We didn't say a word in the dressing room, and we just came out on fire. But the power play did help a lot."

Fuerst, also 16, called it the game of his life. "The game was really exciting, I'll probably remember it the rest of my life," he said.

Bulldogs 4 Reivers 3

The Churchill Bulldogs rallied for a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Kildonan East Reivers in the Coca Cola Division 3 championship.

Rookie Jesse Langtry potted the winning goal with less than eight minutes to go, after the Dogs had trailed 1-0 after the first period and 3-2 after the second.

"I was on top of the world," said Langtry. "The puck got to me in front of the net, the goalie made the save, and I just pushed it in and got the goal."

The Bulldogs trailed 8-4 in shots after one period, but controlled the second and third periods to finish with 27 shots on Kildonan East goalie Kenny Carlson. The Reivers tested the Bulldogs' Nicholas Raffy 19 times.

"It seems like the third period is always our best period," said Langtry. "I think we were just a little nervous coming out here at the MTS Centre, because this is the first time for most of us."

Also scoring for Churchill was Jacob Klick-McMahon with two and Evan Gill.

Matej Drobny scored twice for the Reivers and Kirk Ridler had the other.

allan.besson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 11, 2010 C1

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