Wildcats Liam Bursaw and Gavin Sawatzky team up to stop Blazers star forward Cole Reschny

Last year the Wildcats came out on top. This year would require a monstrous effort to repeat.

The Blazers finished first in the league and are stacked with talent.   In the recent Canada Winter Games that saw the Saskatchewan team win its second-ever hockey medal, the team had seven players from the Blazers including defencemen Emerson Clark, Reese Hamilton, Brayden Smith and forwards Corban Almen, Kash Andresen, Cole Reschny and Lee Shurgot.

The Wildcats started out strong in each game by scoring the first goal.

In game one at Credit Union Centre Warman’s Jonah Marshall scored an unassisted goal  midway through the first period. Kash Andresen tied it before the end of the period. Powerplay goals by Cole Reschny and Braden Smith gave the Blazers the lead. Zane Normand would pull Warman to within one but the Wildcats were unable to get the equalizer in the 3-2 loss.

The large crowd on hand for game two at the Warman Home Centre Communiplex on Wednesday, March 15 got their money’s worth in a game that was still not decided with 0.3 seconds left.

Deeegan Wapass tapped a puck in from the side of the net to give Warman the first period lead. Josh Knittig tied it early in the second period. Kazden Mathies powerplay goal restored the Wildcat lead.

The Blazers’ Corban Alman was sent in alone and was able to rip one glov-side to tie the game. Cole Reschny gave the Blazers their first lead of the game when he tipped a point shot from Emerson Clark.

This set up a dramatic ending to the game. Warman pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. As the seconds ticked down, a large scrum developed in front of the Blazers net. With 0.3 seconds left, Warman began celebrating as the puck had ended up in the net. Unfortunately the play had been whistled dead. But, because a Blazer defender had covered the puck with his hand in the crease, Warman was awarded a penalty shot. Their leading scorer Kazden Mathies was selected to try to send the game into overtime. Blazers goaltender Alex Garrett countered Mathies’ best move and made his biggest save of the night  to preserve the win.

In game three at Credit Union Centre on March 17 Jaxon Herchak scored early in the first period to give Warman the lead. The Blazers responded with six unanswered goals to take the series.

The Wildcats will have a couple weeks to heal their bumps and bruises and prepare to host the U18AAA Telus Cup West Regional championship April 6-9 at the Warman Home Centre Communiplex.

They may even get another chance at the Blazers as the top teams from Northern Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan will be competing at the tournament. Do you have your tickets?