Wild in the hunt for AAA crown
The Winnipeg Wild Red, who draw players from St James, Charleswood and Fort Garry, are battling for the U15 Winnipeg AAA Hockey league championship against the Brandon Wheat Kings.
At press time, March 10, the Winnipeg Wild Red was up 1-0 in the best-of-seven championship series. The team scored three goals in the third period to overcome a two-goal deficit with a 4-3 win.
The matchup sees the league’s number two team in the regular season, the Wild Red, who posted a formidable 29-4-0-1 record, take on the top-ranked Wheat Kings, who tallied an almost identical 30-3-0-1 record.
That extra win hasn’t dented the confidence of Wild Red in the slightest, as the team swept the season series against the Wheat Kings, accounting for two-thirds of its regular season losses.
“Me and the team, we know we can do it, as long as we play our game. We definitely have it, so we should stick to our game and everything should turn out the right way,” 14-year-old right winger Carter Kingerski said.
His team will certainly hope Kingerski sticks to his game, because that means pucks in the net en masse.
The league-leading scorer has put up numbers like something out of a video game this season, amassing 107 points in 34 games for an average of 3.15 points per game. The winger split those points as evenly as possible, with a tally of 54 goals and 53 assists. He’s continued on a similar pace through the playoffs, with 17 points in six games.
But Kingerski was quick to credit his teammates (who have put up their share of points to account for three of the league’s top-five scorers) for the team’s success.
“We like to be physical, get pucks in deep, work as a team, pass the puck, put defense first — all the little things, and the rest will come,” he said.
He also credited the teams’ solid goaltending duo, Dylan McFadyen and Carter Sigurdson, for giving the team in front of them the boost needed to play with full confidence, adding that McFadyen has elevated his game to a different level as of late.
The 14-year-old McFadyen has been on fire as the team’s playoff starter, winning all six games to lead his team to consecutive best-of-five series sweeps through the first two rounds of the playoffs. In those six games, McFadyen let in only seven goals total for a 1.17 goals against average and two shutouts.
“I’m feeling really good. The team has really been helping me out, keeping guys to the outside and really making my job super easy for me,” McFadyen said.
McFadyen said the team’s success stems from everyone doing their job and stepping up to contribute when it matters.
“I feel like our confidence and momentum going into the finals is really good. We know that we can beat them, but that Brandon team is going to have the drive to want to come at us hard,” he said.
Head coach Mitchell Lockhart said he’s feeling the same way about his group.
“It’s tough not to be confident with this group. We got a lot of guys that can put the puck in the net and even more guys that are great at keeping it out,” he said.
Both McFadyen and Kingerski are aiming to be drafted into the WHL next year to continue their careers at the junior level.
Cody Sellar is the reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review West. He is a lifelong Winnipegger. He is a journalist, writer, sleuth, sloth, reader of books and lover of terse biographies. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 204-697-7206.