Peewee Elks lose provincial playdowns series to Clive

By CHARLES TWEED

The Ponoka peewee Elks took on the Red Deer Chiefs in game 1 of the provincial playdowns.

The Elks sit first in the North division with a record of 7-3-3, but drew a tough first matchup against a Red Deer team that hasn’t lost all season, 9-0-1.

The playdowns are a two-game series with the total score of the two games determining the winner.

Ponoka fell behind early, giving up two in the first stanza.

But the team showed no quit, just 40 seconds into the second Jayden Hagemann potted the team’s first goal to cut the deficit in half, Pierce Clemmer and Jarret Henderson had assists.

Red Deer would answer before the period was out, getting three more in the second to make the score 5-1 after two.

Give the Elks credit, a lot of teams would have folded, but after the break the team came out fired up and dominated the play in the third period.

Jarret Henderson scored at the 11-minute mark and that was followed up just two minutes later by an unassisted goal from Hagemann, his second.

That was as close as the Elks could get it. A flurry of opportunities was turned aside by the Chiefs’ goalie making the final 5-3.

“Our kids played well. We were good in the first, a little dopey in the second, but a great third. We were in it, Red Deer hasn’t lost all year and the kids believe that we are in it and that’s what’s most important,” said coach Peter Hall.

With the stakes raised from the regular season, both teams battled hard and it was apparent on the Elks’ side that no matter the size, they were gamers.

“Some of our smaller guys are feisty, they’re not afraid. We had a few kids injured and they’ve come back and haven’t missed a beat. These kids, they’ve got balls the size of cannonballs, don’t underestimate some of our guys because they’re smaller.”

The series shifted back to Red Deer on Jan. 29. The Ponoka team, battling injury and sickness, fought hard but came out on the wrong end of a 7-3 contest.

“I’m proud of our guys. Our kids had a bit of a slow start and now they’ve really come on to play some good hockey. They get along well and we have a good group of parents — it’s fantastic,” said Hall.