Swan Valley Atom A Stampeders Earn Silver Medal

Pictured above: Front Row: Owen Martyniuk, 2nd Row: Damien Leask, Trace Langan, Matt Zamzow, Caleb Rooks, Payton Thompson, Dade Werbicki, 3rd Row: Christian Hart, Grace Kirk, Maddix Eisner, Tyrell Leaske, Alex Campbell, Tucker Thompson, Tavyn BoychukBack Row: Coaches Jason Eisner, Blaine Campbell, Chris Zamzow

Submitted by: Blaine Campbell | The Atom A Stampeders earned a Silver Medal at Hockey Manitoba’s Atom A Provincials during the weekend of March 9-11, 2018 in Ste. Anne. The Stampeders lost the Gold medal game to a well-balanced, strong Carmen Cougars team. To make it to the gold medal game though, the Atom Stampeders fought tooth and nail through 4 tough, close games.

Game 1 of their tournament saw the Atom Stampeders face off against the host team, Ste. Anne Aces on Friday evening. The Stampeders quieted a boisterous home crowd just 36 seconds into the game when Maddix Eisner blasted a slap shot from the blue line into the far corner, assisted by Alex Campbell. The host, Aces, responded with two goals of their own before the first period ended to take a 2-1 lead heading into the 2nd period. 3 minutes into the 2nd period, Tyrell Leaske tied the game on his first of three in the game. Shortly after Ste. Anne retook the lead, Tucker Thompson tied it at 3 with a hard wrist shot from just inside the blue line. Mid way through the final period, both teams scored within a span of 15 seconds. First Ste. Anne, followed by Leaske’s second of the game, assisted by Trace Langan and Tucker Thompson. With 1:14 left in the game, the home team took a 5-4 lead on the Stampeders but our players refused to go away quietly. The team poured on the pressure and finally with 29 seconds remaining, Tyrell Leaske got the tying goal, (assisted by Campbell). Game ended with a 5-5 tie.

Game 2 of their tournament and final round robin game was played against the Beausejour Blades on Saturday morning. The Stampeders came out flying in the first period and scored 3 goals in a span of 1:47. Alex Campbell opened the scoring with two quick goals both into the top corner and both assisted by Tavyn Boychuk and Caleb Rooks. Shortly after, Christian Hart (assisted by Payton Thompson, Leaske) made it 3-0 Stampeders with a rocket from the point. Overconfidence may have creeped into the Stampeders heads as they gave up two goals in the 2nd period, and 2 goals midway through the third period to fall behind 4-3. The Stampeders regrouped though and with 3:48 left in the third period, Tyrell Leaske (Boychuk) tied the game. This set up an intense final 3 minutes of the game. With 2 minutes remaining, Christian Hart sent a long, rink-wide pass to Alex Campbell (a-la Erik Karlsson to Mike Hoffman). Campbell took the puck in and went backhand-forehand-goal to put the Stampeders ahead 5-4. Thanks to many timely saves by Stampeders goalie, Owen Martyniuk, the team secured the victory.

Win or Go Home: Following the completion of the round robin, the Stampeders were placed 5th out of 10 teams and would face the 4th place team to see who would make it to the Championship semi-final. As it turns out, the game would produce a rematch of their very first game against Ste. Anne in a win-or-go-home game. Once again, the Stampeders came out flying and took a 1-0 lead just 6 seconds into the game when Tyrell Leaske got his first of 2 goals in the game. Ste. Anne would tie the game midway through the first period, but the Stampeders would retake the lead with goals from Tucker Thompson (Leaske) and Tyrell Leaske’s second goal of the game. The Stampeders kept the pressure on during the 2nd period and scored three more times to take a 6-1 lead heading into the third period. Payton Thompson (Boychuk) made the score 4-1 when he knocked the puck out of mid-air and backhanded the puck into a gaping net. Tavyn Boychuk (Hart) got his first of the tournament with 9:12 to play in the 2nd period and Campbell finished off the scoring in the second period on a pass from Rooks and Leaske. The Stampeders kept the Aces off the scoresheet in the 2nd period with strong back checking from duos of Damien Leask and Tucker Thompson, Trace Langan and Payton Thompson, and Campbell and Rooks. Leading 6-1 heading into the third period must have gave the players a false sense of security. Just 5 minutes into the third period, the Aces closed the gap to 6-2. Strong defense from the group of Dade Werbicki, Grace Kirk, Christian Hart, Maddix Eisner, and Matt Zamzow kept the surging Aces off the scoresheet for the next 9 minutes. The Aces managed to give the Stampeder team & parents a scare when they scored two goals in the final 2 minutes, but it was too little, too late as the Stampeders finished the game out with a 6-4 victory.

Championship Semi-Final: The victory put the Stampeders into the Championship semi-final against an old, northern foe – The Pas Huskies. With a trip the gold medal game on the line, the game was a back and forth affair filled with strong goaltending, pinpoint passing, and tight checking. The Stampeders got off to another strong start when Leaske opened the scoring 4 minutes into the game. 4 minutes later, Tucker Thompson banged home his 3rd goal of the tournament to make the score 2-0 Stampeders after 1 period. Tight checking ensued over the final two periods, but saw the Huskies tie the game with one goal in each of the 2nd and 3rd periods. Heading into a sudden victory overtime period, both teams were a little nervous. A bouncing puck just seconds into overtime gave the Huskies a breakaway and an early chance to end the game. Stampeder goalie Owen Martyniuk was not prepared to go home yet and came up with a game-saving blocker save. The teams traded high quality chances until with 4:08 left in the first overtime period, a pretty three-way passing play between Tucker Thompson, Boychuk, and Tyrell Leaske ended with a backhand goal by Leaske through the seven-hole of the Huskies net minder. Elation ensued as the goal put the Stampeders into the gold medal game.

The Gold medal game was against the Carmen Cougars. The Stampeders put up a valiant effort but the Cougars were too strong on this day for the Stampeders. Tyrell Leaske (Payton Thompson) managed to score the lone goal for the Stampeders in the second period, but the final score ended 7-1 for the Cougars. The players kept battling the whole game but just couldn’t solve the Cougars defense. Coaches were extremely happy about their play. All in all, the team played strong all weekend and represented the Swan River Valley very well.