The Neepawa Tigers celebrate after winning their second straight provincial AA high school hockey championship banner in Carman on Saturday. They beat the host Cougars 4-1 in the championship game.
Make it two straight provincial high school hockey titles for the Neepawa Tigers.
Garett Rempel had one goal and two assists for the Tigers as they beat the Carman Cougars 4-1 in the Manitoba High School Athletic Association’s AA hockey final in Carman on Saturday. It wasn’t an easy victory for the Tigers, and head coach Mike Adams was proud of his team’s effort.
"It’s a great feeling," he said. "To win one (provincial title) is pretty special, but to get two back-to-back is a pretty rare feat and we sure are proud of the guys for doing that."
Carman came out firing in the final and brought the partisan crowd to life with an early goal. Neepawa, however, weathered the storm and Kyle McDonald tied the game with 40 seconds left in the first period. Matthew Sneesby gave Neepawa a lead early the second and Rempel added an insurance marker with 26 seconds left in the middle frame. Jesse Adams scored an empty-net goal in the third.
Mike Adams was a little worried after Carman’s early marker, but told his guys to relax and stick to their game.
"We knew we were a pretty deep team and have a lot of guys who can score," he said. "We weren’t extremely worried, but we were getting pretty tense there. We just told the guys to have fun and don’t grip the stick too hard and that things will come. You just have to stay with the game plan and that’s what they did."
Grant Graham made 30 saves in Neepawa’s net.
Rempel made off like a bandit at provincials. Not only did he lead all players with eight goals and 11 points in Neepawa’s four games, he was also named a tournament all-star forward, the event’s MVP and won the players’ choice award. McDonald, who had two goals and eight assists during the weekend, was also named an all-star forward. Cody James, a Neepawa blue-liner, and Graham were named to the all-star team.
Ty Moffat of the Deloraine Hartney Colts, who lost the third-place game 4-2 to the Notre Dame/Somerset/ Westmount Mustangs, was also named to the all-star team. Andrew Vercaigne and Lucas Hainsworth scored for the Colts in that game.
While the Tigers were happy to win the provincial title, they won’t be celebrating for long. Neepawa is hoping to win its third straight Westman High School Hockey League title as well, but trail the Dauphin Clippers 1-0 in the semifinals. Game 2 is tonight in Dauphin.
"We have a bit of work to do," Adams said. "Dauphin’s sitting at home resting and waiting for us. We have to be careful about how much fun we have and how much we celebrate."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 11, 2013