Steinbach Regional will play for a second Provincial AAAA championship banner this school year.
Three months after the SRSS varsity boys volleyball team captured the championship banner in a five-set thriller over the St. Paul’s Crusaders, the Sabres will face the Garden City Fighting Gophers in the Provincial AAAA High School Hockey Championship final Monday (6:30 p.m.) at Hockey for All Centre in Winnipeg.
Dominic Rooney, Theoren Koop and Colton Wiebe each had a goal and an assist as the SRSS held on for a 4-3 victory over St. Paul’s Sunday afternoon.
“It feels surreal to make it the Provincial Championship final,” texted SRSS head coach John Laninga. “Solid goaltending from William (MacDonald) and Hunter (Fehr) led the way along with relentless forecheck and plenty of back pressure.”
Koop scored with 20 seconds remaining in the opening period and Drew Heide’s goal with eight seconds left extended the Sabres lead to 3-0.
Troy Boughton and Porter Holland scored third period goals for the Crusaders and cut Steinbach Regional’s lead to 4-3.
William MacDonald who made 30 saves in net for the SRSS, shut the door on St. Paul’s over the final 14 minutes.
Laninga noted the extra day off was beneficial as the semifinals were delayed for 24 hours because of the snowfall warnings issued Saturday for all of southern Manitoba.
“We had a heavy practice on Thursday to prepare for an intense weekend. I think it helped us get off to our ideal start against St. Paul’s today and we had lots left to give in our own zone as we won battles and protected the lead late in the third.”
“The maturity of our team was evident in the celebration after today’s win against St. Paul’s with the realization that the job is not yet complete,” added coach Laninga. “Our program has never defeated a St. Paul’s Platinum Promotions teams before, but we know that we are going into the final as the underdogs against Garden City. We will game plan accordingly and try to build off the round robin loss on Friday night – a game that we felt like we played some our best hockey of the season.”
The Winnipeg High School Hockey League Platinum Promotion Division champion Fighting Gophers, who edged the Westwood Warriors 2-1 in the other semifinal Sunday, defeated the Sabres 2-1 in the round robin finale for both teams.