Argos get big first win to open Western Regional hockey championship

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Dave Leaderhouse
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Notre Dame Argos backstop Dylan Ferguson denies Winnipeg Wild forward Zach Court on a breakaway opportunity in third period action of the opening tilt of the 2014 Midget-AAA Western Regional's on Thursday at the Art Hauser Centre.

Getting off to a good start is always so important; it becomes even more critical when a condensed schedule determines a champion.

The Saskatchewan champion Notre Dame Argos got off to that good start with a 4-2 triumph over the Manitoba champion Winnipeg Wild in the opening game of the 2014 Western Regional playoff on Thursday at the Art Hauser Centre.

Notre Dame now has a bit of breathing room with two games left in the preliminary schedule while Winnipeg has their backs to the walls. The Argos take on the Northern Ontario champion Thunder Bay Kings on Friday with Winnipeg going up against the host Prince Albert Mintos in what is now a must-win situation for the Wild.

“Whenever you play in a short tournament you need a bounce and I think we got that bounce with Gage Ramsay’s shorthanded goal,” said Notre Dame coach Del Pedrick of the lone goal in the second period that put the Argos ahead 2-1. “And, when they made it 2-2 we didn’t quit. We stayed with it.”

Reid Stefanson opened the scoring for Winnipeg early in the first period, but Evan Werle brought the Argos on even terms before the first intermission. Ramsay had the lone marker in the second period and after Mark Taraschuk’s blast from the point tied the game once again, it was all Notre Dame for the remainder of the match.

“You don’t want to drop the first game,” said a disappointed Paul Krueger, coach of the Wild. “It makes for a difficult situation the next two games.”

Werle, with his second of the game, and Dillon Dube scored 46 seconds apart midway through the final frame to seal the win for Notre Dame.

Dylan Ferguson of the Argos was tested 25 times while Tyler Brown was spectacular in the Winnipeg net turning aside 37 of 41 shots.

GAMES NOTES: Player of the game for Winnipeg was Gianluca Esteves while Werle was given the honour for Notre Dame…The Argos, who won the provincial title on Saturday, were without two of their leading scorers as Makai Holdener and Damien Riat headed to Finland this week to represent their native Switzerland at the world under-18 hockey championship…Winnipeg, which had posted a 37-5-2 record and suffered just two more losses in the playoffs in collecting their second straight Manitoba Midget AAA championship, had not played since Mar. 21.

 

Organizations: Art Hauser Centre

Geographic location: Notre Dame, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan Manitoba Northern Ontario Finland Switzerland

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