After 67 games, two R.F. Staples School students struck bronze at the Western Canadian Bantam Championship in Warman, Sask. March 30 to April 2.
Cache Schiller, Ashton McNelly and the rest of the Fort Saskatchewan
‘AAA’ Rangers defeated the Winnipeg Monarchs 6-3 in the bronze medal match April 2.
“That put us as the third best in Western Canada,” Schiller said. “It’s really exciting.”
“It’s a good accomplishment, but we were hoping for gold,” McNelly added.
The first-year player on the team had high hopes and said they could have earned the top title if they had kept their focus in Games 2 and 3.
The Game 1 of the championship rolled out smoothly as the Rangers shut out the Swift Current Broncos 5-0 Thursday morning.
But in Game 2 the boys lost their momentum and the Rangers came up short against the Sask Valley Vipers 5-3. In Friday night’s game, the Rangers fell to the Burnaby Winter Club 5-2.
“The two losses got to our heads,” Schiller said. “We thought it was going to be a cake walk.”
“We were a bit unfocused, but found a way to rebound,” he said. “The last two games we came together as a team.”
The boys bounced back in Saturday’s midday match against the Winnipeg Monarchs with a 4-1 victory. The Rangers kept up the momentum when they faced off against the Monarchs again in the bronze medal final and posted a 6-3 win.
“Everybody put out their best,” Schiller said.
The win comes on the heels of their March 22 victory as best in Alberta at the Alberta Major Bantam Provincial Championship. The Rangers won the championship following a five-game series win over the Lethbridge Golden Hawks.
“We’ve got kids from Fort McMurray, St. Paul, Lac La Biche and Westlock. When you see two quality players that share the same type characteristics, that really speaks well for the community,” said coach Nick Trudeau following the provincial win
“It speaks volumes of the development in Westlock. Without these communities developing good people, we would never have a successful team here in Fort Saskatchewan.”