Bantam Stampeders claim NEAHL crown
By Phil Ambroziak
They did it again.
The Meadow Lake Bantam Stampeders are once again North Eastern Alberta Hockey League (NEAHL) champions following a Game 2 win against the Lloydminster Canadian Forresters March 8.
“We were so incredibly proud of the all of the young men last night,” remarked Meadow Lake coach Gary Vidal when contacted Saturday morning. “As a group, we had set our goal to win the league championship and boy did they come determined to do so. They played determined, extremely disciplined and slowly but surely took over the game. They left no doubt in anyone’s mind who was the better team.”
This was the second straight NEAHL championship for the Bantam Stamps, a title they earned in 2012 when they downed the Bonnyville Pontiacs. This year’s final saw Meadow Lake dominate their opponents, winning the away game by a score of 8-2.
The first period was all Meadow Lake when Alex Vidal scored the game opener at the 8:25 mark. Andrew Sonntag scored again with 1:28 remaining to make it a 2-0 hockey game.
Although Lloydminster was able to score once during the second period, the Stamps maintained control of the game with five more goals thanks to the efforts of Jadyn Trimble-Brander, Sonntag and Shane Hounsell who scored a hat trick to end the period 7-1.
Lloydminster’s lone goal in the third was answered by another by Trimble-Brander for Meadow Lake.
“We are so proud of how they have come together as a team and are willing to make whatever personal sacrifices necessary to ensure that we have team success beyond any individual accolades,” Vidal continued. “It has been a pleasure to watch them grow as both hockey players and young men who will take the lessons they are learning from the game and apply them to their lives in the future. We are all better for the experiences we have shared this winter.”
The season isn’t completely over for the Bantam Stamps, however. They are scheduled to face Melfort in provincial finals starting this week.
“With our first goal accomplished, we now set our minds to our second goal, and that is to win a Bantam ‘B’ provincial title for our city,” Vidal said. “The provincial semi-final begins in Melfort on Thursday, March 14 with Game 1. The second game is scheduled for Saturday, March 16 at 5:30 p.m. in the city arena. We are looking forward to this challenge and are certain that our team will be ready and will give it their absolute best to advance to the provincial final.”