The Ste. Anne Aces have an opportunity to four-peat as Carillon Senior Hockey League champions and represent Manitoba at the Allan Cup next month in Lacombe, Alberta.
The Aces will face the Grunthal Red Wings in the CSHL final for the second year in a row after completing a four game sweep of the La Broquerie Habs in their best-of-seven semifinal.
Ste. Anne coach Kevin Lansard says he’s looking forward to the rematch with the Red Wings who needed an overtime goal from Landon Plett Tuesday night in St. Jean to eliminate the Red River Wild in six games in the other series.
“Every game is going to be close. They play hard and they play fast. We’re just going to focus on what we can do. If it’s like it’s been all seaon – it’s going to be a pretty exciting series.”
Game one goes Wednesday in Ste. Anne.
The Aces defeated the Norway House Bruins two games to one in their Hockey Manitoba Provincial Senior AAA semifinal during the Louis Riel Day long weekend.
“It’s something I really haven’t experienced before,” said Lansard. “Playing Norway House, how fast and quick they were – the speed is just a little notch higher. The local support we had and how many people filled up the building right away, it felt like we were in a game six or game seven of the final of the CSHL. It was a great experience and we were happy that we moved on.”
Ste. Anne will meet the two-time Allan Cup champion South East Prairie Thunder in the best-of-three provincial final with game one scheduled for Sunday (5:15 p.m.) at the Seven Oaks Arena in Winnipeg.
“We know they’ve been the defending Manitoba champions for many, many, many years so we know we’re the underdogs going in and we’re going to treat it that way,” Lansard said. “We feel that we have a bit of momentum knowing we had to play a series while they’ve been waiting. We’re hoping with that momentum we can have a quick start and maybe we can be successful.”
Game two in the provincial final goes Friday, March 15th in Ste. Anne.
If a deciding third game is necessary it will be played Sunday, March 17th at the Max Bell Centre at the University of Manitoba.
photo courtesy Shannon Normandeau