The Carman Beavers spent the Easter weekend battling other champion senior men’s hockey teams from across the province for a chance at the Manitoba Senior A title.
The Beavers split their two games, with a win to start out the weekend on Saturday and a loss to end it on Sunday.
First up, the Carman team took on the Gladstone Lakers on the afternoon of March 31.
The Lakers opened up the scoring less than three minutes into the game. Defenseman Darren Bestland answered back for Carman with a goal 31 seconds later, and Ryan McIntosh and Brock Vanderveen both picked up assists.
Another goal from Gladstone put them up 2-1 at the end of the first period, and then a third goal in the second period gave them a lead of 3-1. Carman’s Aaron Lewadniuk evened up the score before that period was out, finding the net twice with assists from Darren Bestland and Nathan Karlowsky the first time and Laurent Benjamin and Darren Bestland the second time.
The winning point was scored by Carman’s Geoff Maloney early in the third period, with Darren Bestland and Ryan Leonzio assisting. The final score was 4-3 for the Beavers.
The game may have been close, but Carman outshot Gladstone with 37 shots on goal compared to 24.
Things didn’t go as well on Sunday, when the Beavers dropped a decision to the Ste. Anne Aces in a match-up that wasn’t quite as close. The Beavers ended up with three goals to St. Anne’s winning seven.
Two of Carman’s goals were earned on powerplays by Darren Bestland; the other one was scored by Aaron Lewadniuk. Dale Butland assisted on all three goals.
The Carman team will play their third game of the tournament on this Saturday. Beavers’ Assistant Coach Tyler King said the game is a must-win if they want to have a chance at the final.
“It was a long break between the championship and provincials but we were able to pull out a win in our first game,” he said. “We had a quick turnaround before our second game and just didn’t have the same intensity as we have had before.”
The Beavers will face the Grandview Comets on Saturday, April 7 at the Bell MTS Iceplex in Winnipeg. The puck will drop at 7:15 p.m.