The Wheatland Warriors U15AA hockey team took home the gold medal in the South Central Tournament last weekend.
Warriors Coach Clay Armstrong said it was a hard fought weekend, as the Warriors had to battle and give everything they had to get the gold. In the semifinals they faced the Medicine Hat Tigers in a 3-1 victory that was 2-1 before an empty net goal sealed the deal.
"They (Medicine Hat) played an excellent game, eliminated a lot of our chances that we've been used to getting, and it was a hard fought battle. The boys had to dig in deep," Armstrong said.
In the finals, the Warriors found themselves facing a 2-1 deficit against the Lethbridge Hurricanes but kept on pushing to eventually force overtime, where they scored the game winning goal.
"The barn erupted, it was exciting. The guys were exhausted after a big tournament, but they dug in, showed their maturity, showed their hard work. It was really a team effort all the way through, everybody played right to the end and gave everything they had."
Hard work was the theme of the team all season, as they greatly improved as the year went on and managed to earn the #1 seed in the last week of the regular season.
"They truly became young men this weekend. They learned to go through adversity, they learned to lean on each other and they had to dig deep when their legs had no energy left. They had so much heart, they just kept moving. So as a coaching staff, we're extremely proud of these young men."
While the Warriors definitely earned a chance to rest and celebrate a great win, the job isn't done yet. Now that they're the South Champions they're set to face the North Champion Bow Valley Timberwolves in a best of three series starting on Thursday. The winner of this series will move on to provincials.
This season has been a huge success for the Warriors up to this point, which Armstrong said is due not only to the hard work the players put in, but all the support the team gets from the staff and parents.
"The fans have been excellent, the parents have been excellent, they've supported everything that's happened. The coaching staff from the start of the year right until now has been all on the same page. We get along, we've had fun and we really enjoyed working with this crew of boys."
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