Beaver Blues are league champs

The Battleford Beaver Blues had the Glaslyn North Stars on the ropes heading into game four of the Saskatchewan Prairie Hockey League championship series Friday night.

The Beaver Blues led the series 2-1, as the teams took to the ice in Turtleford.

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At the 19:28 mark of the first period, Battleford defenceman Jody Reiter scored from Scott Maunula and Devin Esquirol.

That lead held until the second period when Glaslyn tied to game with a goal by Colin Pylypow.

The teams each had several power play opportunities to break the tie, as they combined for 22 minor penalties, but nothing was solved and the game remained tied after the third period.

In overtime, Maunula was giving a slashing minor early in the fourth period, but the Beavers Blues prevailed. Minutes later Travis Keller, who joined the team later in the season and in his first season back into senior hockey, scored the game-winning, series-winning goal. Brent Salzl assisted on Keller's tally.

Cameron Simkins was saddled with the loss for the North Stars while Mitch Hawtin backstopped the Beaver Blues to the win.

The Beaver Blues were 6-2 in the playoffs with those two losses, one to Glaslyn and one to Cut Knife, coming in overtime games. The Beaver Blues were also first in the regular season standings with a 14-3-0 mark.

Martin Smith led the playoffs in points with 11 goals and six assists in six games and was named the playoff MVP. Salzl was second in playoff points with five goals and 11 assists in seven games.

Hawtin led all goalies in the playoffs with a 1.31 goals against average, as he played all eight playoff games for Battleford and earned one shutout on the way to the championship.

Along with crowning the winners of the SPHL's second season, the league also announced the winners of the league awards.

The top scorer, most sportsmanlike player and most valuable forward awards all went to Perdue Pirate Clark McNulty. McNulty had 26 goals and 24 assists for 50 points in 16 games. His 50 points passed the inaugural record set by Maymont's Kenton Albert last season, as he had 49 points in 16 games.

Glaslyn's Simkins was named the league's top goalie. He led all regular goalies with a 2.63 goals-against average and had a 10-2-0 record during the regular season helping Glaslyn finish third in their first season in the SPHL.

John Wood, also of the Glaslyn North Stars, was named the league's most valuable defenceman. Wood had one goal and nine assists with the North Stars during the regular season.

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