Wawota Flyers repeat as Big Six Champions

POSTED: 2017-03-20 09:27:28


For the second season in a row, the Wawota Flyers are the Big Six Hockey League champions.

Wawota has successfully defended their 2016 title after disposing of the Yellow Grass Wheat Kings in four straight games.

After a pair of one-goal victories (5-4, 6-5) in the first two games of the series, the Flyers took Game 3 at home handily by a 7-2 margin. That set up a must-win game for the Yellow Grass Wheat Kings at home in Game 4.

Ice plant issues in Yellow Grass forded the game to be moved to Weyburn, where more than 1,000 fans filled the rink.

Yellow Grass earned the first powerplay of the game halfway through the period. Not only would they be unable to convert, but as the penalty expired Wawota would open the scoring.

Warren Hunter stepped out of the penalty box and forced a turnover on a Yellow Grass point shot. Devin Stewart picked up the loose puck as Riley Riddell flew the zone as Stewart sent in the Flyers' leading playoff scorer on a breakaway. Riddell deked out Tanner Erickson in the Yellow Grass goal to open the scoring and giving Wawota a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

The Wheat Kings would earn two more powerplays to start the second period, but were unable to beat Wawota's Guillaume Blouin. The Flyers held the fort until earning a powerplay of their own, which they quickly made count.

Brent Struble cycled the puck down in the corner for Riddell who quickly sent it to the top of the circle to Kevin Lincoln. Lincoln quickly snapped a shot past Erickson's glove hand for the powerplay goal, giving Wawota a 2-0 lead.

Yellow Grass was in desperate need of a goal to get back in the game. And thanks to some hard work in the final minute, they would be rewarded.

Corey Koski shot the puck at Wawota's goal, where it hit a pair of players before making the net. The loose puck bounced right onto the tape of Mike Onstad, who made no mistake into the open net to make the score 2-1 with 29 seconds left in the middle frame.

That set up a tense final period with Yellow Grass trying to extend the series and Wawota looking to hold on for their second straight title.

The Wheat Kings would carry the majority of the play in the final period with multiple chances around the Flyers' goal. But with only 1:30 remaining, the score remained 2-1.

Yellow Grass pulled their goalie for the extra attacker in an attempt to find the tying goal. But after gaining the zone and dumping the puck in the corner, Yellow Grass would be unable to work the puck into a scoring position.

Wawota would clear the zone and Ryan Taylor received a pass all alone in the neutral zone. Taylor fired the puck in the middle of the empty net for the back-breaker, putting Wawota up 3-1 with only 49 seconds remaining.

The Wheat Kings would pull the goalie again in hopes of a miracle. But once again, the puck came to Taylor who scored into the empty net yet again to make it 4-1 to clinch the win.

As the final seconds ticked of the clock, the Wawota Flyers came storming off the bench and mobbed Blouin to celebrate a four-game sweep of Yellow Grass and the team's second straight Big Six title.

Meanwhile, the Miniota-Elkhorn C-Hawks are up 2-1 over Russell in the North Central Hockey League final. Game 4 goes This Friday in Russell, and Game 5 if needed will be Saturday night in Elkhorn.

The Rocanville Tigers are up 1-0 over Theodore in the Triangle Hockey League final. Game 2 is Friday night in Theodore and Game 3 is Sunday night in Rocanville.


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