U14 Division - Island Wild defeat Lloydminster Athletics 2-1
Nobody was surprised when Island Wild winger Grady Veary scored the opening goal of the series, after he notched 45 in the regular season and 11 in four games vs. Lloydminster. The Athletics doubled the Wild in shots after one in game one, but trailed by a goal. The Island Wild went ahead 2-0 and ended up with 10 more shots than Lloydminster in the second period, but three goals including a shorthanded marker from Brady Keith and a power play goal from Grady Kvill put Lloydminster in front 3-2. From there Griffin McCeachern took over with 15 of his 36 saves in the 3rd period to preserve the Athletics win and earn a 1-0 series lead. On Saturday night things were more lopsided, as Lloydminster was also battling a flu bug running through its dressing room before they once again watched the Wild again score the first goal from Veary. The Wild would propel themselves to a 4-0 win thanks to 24 saves from Kole Anderosov. Lloydminster goaltender McCeachern was unable to start the third and deciding game due to the flu, so it fell on Kane Swanson who not only was making his first playoff start, but first action since January 22nd. For the first time in the series the Athletics scored first, but watched the Wild score six unanswered, including a hattrick from Veary - giving him 16 goals in 7 games versus the Athletics en route to a 6-3 win in game three, earning the Island Wild the first ever U14 title.
U15 Division - Titans Hockey Union defeat Northstars Hockey Academy 2-1
The Northstars Hockey Academy used a quick strike offence and a bend but don’t break approach to win game one on Friday night. The team that calls Williams Lake, B.C. home scored a pair of goals in 20 seconds in the opening period and added one more less than five minutes into the third period before watching Titans Hockey Union pump 26 shots on goaltender Jaxon Dikur who stopped 25 and 39 overall to preserve the game one victory 4-1. Game two saw a closer score of 2-1, but the Titans borrowed the Northstars script by putting up just 21 shots, killing all seven Northstars powerplays, while watching their goaltender stand tall. Jaxon Kobe scored his fourth power play goal of the post season while Owen Chase’s goal in the second period stood up as the winner and Bennett Neilson stopped 31 of 32 shots including 13 of 14 in the third period where Creran might have saved the series for the Titans Hockey Union. Resembling Mason MacTavish’s heroics at Rogers Place in Edmonton during the summer World Junior Championship of 2022, Creran pulled a puck off the goal line keeping the lead intact. It was a play that was perfectly replayed in slow motion during the 4Veangeance broadcast many times. Game three again saw things close on the scoreboard, but Titans Hockey Union came out flying with two goals and 17 shots in the opening period. The Titans Hockey Union would regain the 2 goal lead in the third period, ultimately holding on for a 4-3 victory and a 2-1 series win to claim the inaugural U15 title.
U18 Division - HC Edmonton defeats Titans Hockey Union 2-0
The opening game of the U18 Championship between HC Edmonton and Titans Hockey Union was played in front of a packed house at the Meadows Recreation Centre and while the first period was tied on the scoreboard, HC Edmonton had more jump and outshot the Titans 15-6. Carter Will scored his first goal of the playoffs in the second period and admitted during an intermission interview that he had been frustrated with his scoring slump but was hoping for the flood gates to open, which they did. Will scored two more for the hattrick in the third period as HC Edmonton put up three unanswered to build a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish in a 5-2 opening game win. Game two started with the Titans Cole Connolly scoring with five minutes to play in the first and Titans Hockey Union holding HC Edmonton to just five shots. The second period was a different story with goals from Declan Pocock, Tai Riley and Carter Will. HC Edmonton took a lead they wouldn’t give back. The Titans scored early and late in the third period but couldn’t tie the game as HC Edmonton would be the only team to win in two straight, sweeping the U18 title.
In closing, all three series featured the top two scoring teams and in two of the three series the two best defensive teams. The three playoff Championship winners were also the three victorious teams from the Winter Championship who earned home ice advantage throughout the post-season.
The Junior Prospects Hockey League would like to thank everyone who made the inaugural season one to remember both on and off the ice. Thank you for your time, dedication and effort! We are already looking forward to September.