Stamps eliminated from NSRHL playoffs
by Phil Ambroziak
The Meadow Lake Stampeders were put out to pasture on Sunday when a 3-2 loss to the St. Walburg Eagles put an end to the team’s 2013-14 campaign and its efforts to secure the North Saskatchewan River Hockey League (NSRHL) championship.
“We had an unfortunate break at the end, and that’s how it was throughout this entire series,” noted Stamps coach Ian Turberfield. “We had them every game, but somehow they’d find a way to win. We had a bit of a bad break when it came to their third goal. Call it a misplay or whatever you like, but we weren’t able to tie the game. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
The loss resulted in St. Walburg winning the best-of-five series 3-1. That team will now move on to the league final where they will face the defending champion Wilkie Outlaws.
“Wilkie is a strong team,” Turberfield added. “They’ll certainly have their hands full with them.”
Sunday’s game, held at the Meadow Lake and District Arena, started off on a high note for the Stamps when John Iron scored with a little more than six minutes remaining in the first period. St. Walburg would tie things up 1-1 early in the second only for Meadow Lake to pull ahead a few minutes later thanks to the scoring efforts of Jamie Jeanotte. The game would be tied yet again, however, early in the third with St. Walburg’s third goal coming with only 4:24 remaining in the game.
“We played a good game on Sunday, but we seemed to let up a bit and that’s when they let us have it,” Turberfield said.
Last week, St. Walburg took a 2-1 series lead when they defeated the Stamps in St. Walburg Feb. 26 by a score of 9-5. Scoring twice for Meadow Lake in that outing was Chad Crookedneck while singles were earned by Darren Caron, Les Ludwig and Darren Schwartz.
“It’s always tough when we play against Meadow Lake,” noted St. Walburg coach Duane Larre. “They’re a team that always seems to improve as time goes on and I especially think they had some strong goaltending this year. I particularly think Vidal (goalie Jeff Vidal) played really well during this series.”
Meadow Lake finished third overall in the NSRHL standings this year, trailing first-place Wilkie and second-place St. Walburg, with a record of 11 wins and nine losses.
“We started out slow this season, but we ended strong,” Turberfield said. “It just seems as though we can’t get over the hump at playoffs. We had a really good team this year and I hope the guys decide to return next year.”