The Stettler Storm rallied from a 1-0 series deficit to beat the Bentley Bruins 2-1 in the best-of-three North Central Minor Hockey Association peewee A final.
Stettler posted a 4-2 victory in the deciding game Monday night at the Stettler Recreation Centre.
The Storm, also known as the DQ Blizzards, won 5-3 on Sunday at Rimbey, after Bentley took the opener 5-4 in Stettler a week ago.
“We have had a really good year,” said Storm coach Jason Hegberg. “We’ve outscored other teams by quite a bit, but we were always close with Bentley. We knew they were a good hockey team.
“They beat us in the first game of the playoff series … we just weren’t executing. Sunday wasn’t a real great game by either team, but we came out on top and gave ourselves another chance to win the title.
“Our boys played really today. Give Bentley credit, though. They played outstanding. They never quit.”
The Bruins, who pressed late in Monday’s game while on a 5-on-3 power play, gave Stettler a worthy test as the Storm readied for the peewee A provincials, which run Friday through Sunday in Red Deer.
“I just told the guys that this (competitiveness) is a good thing for us, because every game from now on in is going to be tight,” said Hegberg, whose club won the provincial peewee A title last season. “You’re going to have to work your butt off until the end. Everybody wants to win, but you’ve got to focus on what your coaches are telling you and play your systems. If you do that and work hard, you should get the results you want.”
In the final game of the league championship series, Daylan Kuefler scored two goals and an assist for Stettler. Jackson Squires and Rhett Shingoose also scored for the Storm and Alex DeYoung added two assists.
Stettler goaltender Wade Smith held the fort, especially during Bentley’s late push on an extended power play.
“Wade, our goaltender, he’s the backbone,” Hegberg said. “Any 5-on-3, the goalie has got to stand on his head, and he made some outstanding saves for us.
“He’s our only goalie, so it was nice to see him step up and play real good hockey.”
Smith made 38 saves, while the Bruins’ Geran Christiansen blocked 43 shots.
In Sunday’s game, Beau Cooper led Stettler with two goals and two assists, while DeYoung had three helpers. Kuefler, Shingoose and Isaac Lee each scored a goal.
The provincial final is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday.