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AMHL Division Finals Kick Off

By Neil Hilts on March 12, 2017

The Sherwood Park J. Ennis Kings are one of the final four teams left in the Alberta Midget Hockey League playoffs. They won the North Division and finished second in the league during the regular season and are now facing the Leduc Chrysler Oil Kings in the Division Final. (Courtesy of the AMHL)  

The final four teams are ready to duke it out as they continue to battle for the Alberta AAA Midget Hockey League (AMHL) championship.

Down in the South Division, Calgary plays Foothills, while in the North, Leduc and Sherwood Park clash. Both series began this weekend.

The Calgary Buffaloes swept their city counterparts, the Calgary Northstars, in three straight games winning 3-0, 6-1 and 4-3 in the semis. The Buffaloes finished first in the league at 24-4-6 and have to be considered favourites. Along with Foothills, the Buffaloes had a first-round bye due to finishing in the top two.

The second-place Foothills CFR Chemical Bisons bested the fifth-place Calgary Flames in four games, winning two in overtime. Their leading scorer from the regular season, Peyton Krebs, has four assists but was held goalless – something he’ll need to change to help push the Bisons into the Finals.

In Game 1 of the Division Finals, the Buffaloes beat Foothills behind a goal and an assist from Joshua Dobberthien and 42 saves by Brayden Peters.

Up North, the top four teams paired off in a spot for the Division Finals. The No. 1 Sherwood Park J. Ennis Crusaders won 3-2 over the No. 4 SSAC Boston Pizza Athletics, punctuated by a 3-2 win in the last game of the series.

The closest matchup based off the standings was between the St. Albert Tire Warehouse Raiders and the Leduc Chrysler Oil Kings and it came down to the wire. Leduc was the last team to punch their ticket to the Division Finals, winning Game 5 with a 5-2 score on Thursday night. Leduc was the only team of the remaining final four to play in the first round and they swept the MLAC Beverly Optimists in two games.

Sherwood Park entered the finals with a 23-8-3 record, while Leduc was just under .500 at 14-15-5. The first game between Leduc and Sherwood Park was won by the Oil Kings by a score of 2-1. Breydon Berthold and Trysten Brookman both scored, while Easton Hesse turned aside 29 of 30 shots for the win.

Over the next week, the best-of-five Division Finals will be played out before the league finals begin. The winner of the AMHL will then play the BC Midget AA Champion in the Pacific Regional Finals. Teams are vying for a spot in the Telus Cup, the National Midget Hockey Championship in Canada.

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By Neil Hilts| March 12, 2017
Categories:  Minor Hockey
Keywords:  AB Minor Hockey

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