The Saskatoon Blazers are headed to the national U18AAA championship tournament in Quebec later this month
Blazers captains and assistant captains accept the Western Regionals trophy from the league president
The Blazers celebrate their win at the Warman Home Centre Communiplex on Sunday, April 9

For the first time since 1974 the Saskatoon Blazers are going to the U18 AAA Nationals.
Swift Current Broncos prospect Tyson Yaremko netted the overtime winner against the Warman Wildcats in the championship final of the U18AAA Western Regionals played at the Warman Home Centre Communiplex on Sunday, April 9.
While the Blazers had been the most consistent team throughout the tournament, the Wildcats didn’t go down easy in the Sunday match- up. The capacity crowd got their money’s worth as the two teams battled back and forth. The game had it all; solid hits, great forechecking, precision passing, fortunate bounces and top-level goaltending. Total shots on net were 34 for Warman and 33 for Saskatoon.
Warman got on the board first late in the first period; some hard checking along the boards opened up a sharp angle shot for Deegan Wapass. With amazing precision he scored short side high through the smallest of holes.
Saskatoon tied it in the second period by forcing a Warman turnover, allowing Cole Reschny to bury a one-timer from the top of the faceoff circle.
Wapass scored his second of the game on a Warman power play by gloving down a high bouncing puck and firing a laser shot top glove side.
The Blazers would benefit from a fortunate bounce of their own when Gavin Granger’s shot from the point was initially stopped; but the rebound went off a defender’s body into the net.
Saskatoon grabbed the lead when Reese Hamilton’s point shot found its way through a maze of bodies in front of Warman’s goal.
Warman pressed for the equalizer throughout the third period. With the goalie pulled for an extra attacker, they were rewarded when Wapass buried the puck for his hat trick goal, sending the game into overtime.

Warman’s Deegan Wapass buries the puck to tie the game with one minutes and four seconds left in the game

Playing three on three during the extra time makes for more open ice, which set up a two on one break for the Blazers. Raiden Zacharias feathered a beautiful pass to Yaremko, who used his momentum to deke out the Warman goalie for the game winner.
With the win the Blazers advance to the national championship in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec on April 24-30.
“We battled hard all season. We have a great group. It is not done yet,” said Blazers defenceman Reese Hamilton. “We are excited to go down there and see what we can do.”
The play of both teams demonstrated the high level of talent in the Saskatchewan U18AAA league.
The Blazers went undefeated in the round robin, with a 7-0 win over the Thunder Bay Kings and an 8-2 win over the Winnipeg Wild. In the last game of the round robin they doubled the Wildcats 6-3.
The Warman Wildcats opened the tournament with a 5-1 win over the Winnipeg Wild. Kazden Mathies led the way with a natural hat trick, scoring three goals in the second period. Liam Bursaw and Zane Normand added to the Warman lead in the third period. Corben Schnurr made 24 saves to earn the win.
On Friday the Wildcats defeated the Thunder Bay Kings 5-2. Kazden Mathies had a pair while Dawson Gerwing, Tylan Henrikson and Jonah Marshall chipped in with singles. Luke Brunen had 24 saves for the win.
Warman head coach Courage Bear expressed appreciation for how hard his team worked all season.
“Those young men in there, I am so proud of them,” said Bear. “They laid it on the line. In the playoffs we had our ups and downs, but everyone should be proud of what they did. They gave our fans, parents and community a chance to come and cheer and be proud of them. We have knocked on the door a couple times and been disappointed twice. Someday we are going to bust it down. We’ll keep coming back and put our heads down and go to work again next year.”