Home ice crucial early in CRJHL semi-finals
There’s no place like home so far for the Arborg Ice Dawgs and St Malo Warriors as the two teams battle in the Capital Region Junior Hockey League semi-finals.
Through three games of a seven-game series, only the home team has won. Arborg fought their way into the semi-finals by defeating North Winnipeg in the quarterfinals, while St Malo earned a first-round bye after finishing second in the league standings
St Malo ended the season on a hot streak, only losing two times in regulation since early December, and that streak continued as they kicked off the post-season. The Warriors made it look easy in game one at home, winning 6-1. Arborg bounced back in game two to score six goals of their own to tie the series at home March 4.
Game three was back in St Malo, and the Warriors took full advantage of home ice to jump out to a 3-0 first period lead. The teams would exchange goals over the course of the rest of the game, but those first-period goals were the difference in St Malo’s 5-2 win.
Brady Gregoire, a 2005-born rookie, has had a red-hot start to his playoffs, leading the team in scoring with six points in three games, including the opening goal just 55 seconds into game three.
In the other CRJHL semi-final series, Selkirk is up 1-0 on Lundar after a 4-1 win in game one. The Fishermen finished the regular season with only four regulation losses and a winning percentage above 80 per cent.
The Warriors boast three CRJHL all-stars this season, as the league announced the 14 players who received the honour Feb. 6. Forwards Ashton Dubois and Jeremie Collette were named to the team through strong offensive play. Both players averaged more than a point-per-game, with Dubois ending the season as the league’s leading scorer. He had 15 goals and 26 assists in 29 games.
Goaltender Jozse Gauthier-Urmos got an all-star nod as well. Not only did the goalkeeper put up a great 0.926 save percentage, he did it across 18 games. The other all-star goalie, Owen Derewlanchuk from Selkirk put up an outstanding 0.960 save percentage and a goals against average of under 1.0, but played in three fewer games than the St Malo goalie, splitting net time evenly with Brendon Hocaluk.
Game four between the Ice Dawgs and Warriors is back in Arborg March 10, with St Malo hosting game five March 12 at 2:30 p.m. If a game seven is needed, then that will also be in St Malo at 8 p.m. March 20.