A season that held so much promise is no more. On Sunday, Apr. 5, the Notre Dame Hounds nipped the Kindersley Klippers 4-3 in overtime to win the best of seven Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) semifinal games four to two in Wilcox, Saskatchewan.
Notre Dame will now play the Melfort Mustangs in the league final. Both teams are looking to end long championship droughts. The Hounds won the national title in 1988 while Melfort last won the league championship in 1996.
“It was tough,” said Klipper forward Devin Case of Yellowknife. “We thought we should have done better for ourselves.”
Case had one goal during the series.
“They just capitalized on some of our mistakes and that was the difference in most of the games.”
The Klippers opened the series with two losses at home on Mar. 27, 3-2 during overtime and 5-1 the following day.
“I don’t think we could have done anything differently,” said team captain and defenceman Shaun MacPherson of Fort Smith, who had five assists during the series.
“During the regular season, they beat us four times in their own rink and had a regular season record like ours,” he said of Notre Dame. “They are a good team.”
After Kindersley opened the series with two losses, the series moved back to Wilcox for games three and four. The Klippers shut out the Hounds 3-0 on Mar. 31 but fell 3-2 to them the following day. The Klippers then beat the Hounds 4-3 at home on Apr. 3.
“We felt like we outplayed them in most of the games and we should have won,” Klippers coach Rockie Zinger said. “The Hounds are a good team. They had the same amount of points but just two less wins than we did in the regular season.
“I have no regrets. It is in the past and we can’t do anything about it.”
The coach did, however, indicate a series turning point may have occurred in game six.
“We had a five-on-three power play in game six which we failed to score on,” Zinger said. “If we had done so, we would have been up by two goals and probably headed back to Kindersley for game seven, but that just didn’t happen.”