The Steinbach Huskies are Hanover Tache Junior Hockey League champions for the 10th time.

The Huskies rallied from a 3-0 deficit with six unanswered goals and defeated the Springfield Xtreme 6-3 Friday night at One Insurance Arena in Oakbank.

Steinbach swept the best-of-seven final in four straight.

Ian Friesen had a hat trick in game four while singles went to Ethan Plett, Rylan Penner and Huskies captain Brandon Thiessen.

“This is awesome,” remarked Thiessen while his teammates were celebrating on the ice after the trophy presentations. “I’ve got so many close friends and guys I’ve grown up playing with throughout the years – it’s so much fun winning it with this group of guys. It’s special. It’s special to do this. I enjoy every moment of it.”

hockey_2023Huskies captain Brendon Thiessen accepts the championship trophy and Hockey Manitoba’s Junior C championship banner from president Darrell Lupky and commissioner Pat Guenette

Springfield’s Kai Tymchak opened the scoring at 14:42 of the first period and it looked like the Xtreme were on their way to extending the series to game five on Sunday night at the T.G. Smith Arena when Sam Sass and Chase Janas scored just over two minutes apart midway through the second period.

That 3-0 lead didn’t last long.

Ethan Plett got the Huskies on the board just 51 seconds after Janas scored.

Ian Friesen then potted back-to-back goals at 15:42 and 18:46 of the period to even game four at 3-3 heading into the second intermission.

Rylan Penner’s power play goal 3:30 into the third period gave Steinbach its first lead of the game.

“We had to battle through adversity,” said Penner. “In the dressing room in between periods we really talked about finishing it out and beating them to every puck battle and wanting it more than them. All the boys agreed on it and we came out and did it.”

Springfield’s Dylan Kizlik faced 40 shots in game four while Huskies goaltender Brandon Palmer made 27 saves and was named the playoff MVP.

“I wasn’t expecting that at all,” Palmer said. “It feels great. There were a lot of guys who played amazing. Rylan Penner played great; Ethan Unger scored some big goals. It feels amazing.”

hockey_2023Huskies goaltender Brandon Palmer was named the playoff MVP

The Huskies are the first team to win back-to-back HTJHL championships since the Red River Mudbugs accomplished the feat in 2018 & 2019.

“These young men out here worked so hard, and they had every reason this year to take the foot off the gas,” noted Steinbach head coach Ben Plett who watched his team reel off 11 straight wins in the playoffs. “We could have drawn out the series against Niverville. They played us really hard and here we could have given up a game or two, but these guys just played so hard every game, every shift. They wanted to win so bad and that’s what it’s all about.”

The Huskies are the only team in league history to win back-to-back-to-back championships.

Steinbach won three straight titles in 2005, 2006 & 2007.

The Huskies will have a chance to three-peat again in 2025.