Stamps-Hawks NSRHL playoff series tied at one apiece

Stamps forward Brodie Derocher fires a backhander toward the goal Saturday night in a game that saw Meadow Lake beat Paradise Hill 6-3.

Stamps forward Brodie Derocher fires a backhander toward the goal Saturday night in a game that saw Meadow Lake beat Paradise Hill 6-3.

by Phil Ambroziak

The Meadow Lake Stampeders still have some odds to overcome if they want to claim this year’s North Saskatchewan River Hockey League championship.

The first-round, best-of-five playoff series between the Stamps and the Paradise Hill Hawks is currently tied 1-1 thanks to Paradise Hill’s efforts to secure an 8-2 win when they hosted Meadow Lake for Game 2 Sunday night (Feb. 15).

“We’re obviously going through an injury-plagued series right now, and it really showed last night,” remarked Stamps coach Ian Turberfield when contacted Monday. “Whenever you start to drop bodies, it’s never good.”

Notable absentees on Sunday were veteran players DJ King, Calvin Fiddler and Jorden Iron. They also missed Game 1 on Saturday night in Meadow Lake.

“Two of them were working while the other is still hurt,” Turberfield noted.

Come Sunday, however, Stamps forward Ashton McIntyre was also on the shelf as the result of a knee injury while teammate Philip Blatz is out for the rest of the playoffs after breaking his leg in Saturday’s home game.

“He just happened to go into the boards wrong,” Turberfield continued.

In spite of these unfortunate circumstances, however, fans witnessed an opposite result Saturday when the Stamps downed the Hawks 6-3 in the series’ opener.

“At first, because of the two-week layoff (since the Stamps’ final regular season game), we looked a little rusty – it took us a while to get our legs under us,” Turberfield said. “But, I felt the second half of the game went much better than the first. We seemed to come around.”

Even though Meadow Lake finished the 2014-15 regular season ranked number one in the five-team league, Turberfield said no one should be underestimated, especially during the post-season. This includes Paradise Hill, he added, the team that finished fourth overall this year.

“When it comes to playoffs, they (Paradise Hill) become a whole different hockey club,” he said. “They become a lot hungrier, but when we’re able to stay in these tight games and eventually come away with the win, it’s a good sign. It shows we know how to battle.”

Turberfield went on to describe his team’s injury situation as frustrating, but added he still possesses a lot of confidence with what he still has.

“Our game play will have to change a bit – it’s now a matter of simplifying our game and making the necessary adjustments,” he said. “The injuries aren’t going to help us right now, but hopefully we can get through this.”

He also believes some of those who weren’t on the ice this past weekend will be available for Game 3.
“We should have Iron and Fiddler back, and we’ll see how King is doing,” he said.

The winner of the Meadow Lake-Paradise Hill series will go on to play the winner of the ongoing series between the Edam 3 Stars and St. Walburg Eagles.

Game 3 between the Stamps and the Hawks is scheduled for this Saturday (Feb. 21) in Meadow Lake.

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