Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives May 2 2015, Page 59

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - May 2, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE C5 B RANDON — Sweet Caroline sounded better than ever to the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday night. As is usually the case when Neil Diamond croons at Westman Place, the Wheat Kings were on their way to victory. Friday’s 8- 2 win over the Calgary Hitmen meant much more than that, though, as it locked up Brandon’s first appearance in the Western Hockey League championship final in 10 years. “ It feels unreal,” said 20- year- old defenceman Eric Roy, who scored the Wheat Kings’ first goal and added an assist. “ It’s so surreal. It’s very exciting, especially two years ago, we were in last place or whatever it was. But we have a really good team here and we’re just excited for the opportunity.” Just like in Game 4 in Calgary, when the Wheat Kings scored five secondperiod goals in a span of 10: 25 to send them on their way to an 8- 3 victory, Brandon took over Friday’s contest with an explosion in the middle frame. The Wheat Kings were even faster this time, turning a 1- 0 deficit into a 5- 1 lead in a span of only 6: 48, including goals only 10 seconds apart by Ryan Pilon and Nolan Patrick. Jayce Hawryluk led the charge with two goals and two assists in front of a sellout crowd of 5,337. “ It just keeps happening, I don’t know,” Hawryluk said of the Wheat Kings’ binge scoring. “ I think one goal leads to two goals, leads to three goals. It’s just repetitive. It’s nice, very nice.” John Quenneville also scored twice for the Wheat Kings, while Patrick had a goal and two assists. Tim McGauley chipped in with an empty netter, while Jordan Papirny made 31 saves to improve his and the team’s record to 12- 3 in the playoffs, with three straight five- game series victories. The Hitmen carried the play in the first period and their hard work was rewarded with the only goal of the frame. On the tail end of a power play, Pavel Karnaukhov fired a bad- angle shot — the puck was actually behind the goal- line — bouncing the biscuit off Papirny’s skate and into the Wheat Kings’ net. Were it not for Papirny, it could have been worse for Brandon. He made a spectacular save earlier in the game, kicking out a pad to deny Radel Fazleev on a Calgary two- on- one. Roy got the Wheat Kings rolling in the second, gathering the loose puck after Colton Walt’s shot was stopped in front and firing it past Hitmen starter Mack Shields. From there it was all Brandon as the Wheat Kings tacked on four quick goals. Pilon and Patrick scored their rapid- fire goals while the teams were playing four aside, leading the Hitmen to pull their starting goalie for the third time in the series. Hawryluk and Patrick welcomed Shields’ replacement, Brendan Burke, with power- play goals. “ I thought Calgary got the momentum. They got the power play and really outplayed us in the first period,” Wheat Kings head coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. “ So to get on the board on the second, get our crowd into the game and then the two four- on- four goals and of course the two five- on- four goals made it a great period for us.” Adam Tambellini scored for Calgary late in the second, but McCrimmon felt like his team played better with the lead in the third period on Friday, limiting the Hitmen to eight shots in the third and adding three more goals, including Hawryluk’s team- high 10th of the playoffs on a breakaway. The Wheat Kings will face the winner of the series between the Kelowna Rockets and the Portland Winterhawks for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. The Rockets and Winterhawks were on the ice at press time on Friday in Kelowna, B. C., playing Game 5 their Western Conference final with the series tied 2- 2. The final will follow a 2- 3- 2 format with tickets for Games 1 and 2 in Brandon set for Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9, going on sale on Monday. “ The Eastern Conference was tough this year. We’ve beat three good teams to get to the league final,” said Mc- Crimmon, whose team followed up winning the regular- season title by knocking out the defending Memorial Cup champion Edmonton Oil Kings in the first round of the playoffs before ousting the Regina Pats in the conference semifinal. “ Each team was a little different and presented different challenges. Each series gave us concerns at times and yet guys have found a way to get the 12 we wins to get to the league final. We’re extremely excited about it.” — The Brandon Sun winnipegfreepress. com HOCKEY WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SATURDAY, MAY 2, 2015 C 5 VANCOUVER — There is something very special about representing your country on the world stage — an immense sensation of pride that is magnified even more when the event is being held in your own country. Olympic gold- medallist Ashleigh McIvor- Demerit knows the feeling well, having won the women’s ski cross event at the 2010 Games. It’s something the Canadian women’s soccer team will experience first hand this summer when they play host to the FIFA Women’s World Cup. “ There was a lot of talk about pressure during the Vancouver Games,” McIvor- Demerit says. “ Although in my opinion, the Own the Podium initiative alleviated the pressure for me. I knew I had been given every opportunity to be in a position to go out there and have success and from what I understand, the women’s soccer team has also been very well supported going into this World Cup.” McIvor- Demerit knows a thing or two about the Beautiful Game. Her love affair with the sport took root when she connected with Jay DeMerit, a former U. S. national team player who was then captain of the Vancouver Whitecaps. Since meeting and subsequently marrying the centre back, McIvor- Demerit’s soccer learning curve has been extremely steep. “ I guess the season opener in the first year the Whitecaps were part of the MLS was my first real game that I actually went to watch. I was kind of hooked from there on, although some of it may have had a little bit to do with Jay,” she recalls with a laughs. ” But it’s been really cool to learn the game.” Learning to live with her husband in a state of transition has opened up a lot of exciting opportunities for this power couple. McIvor- Demerit retired from competitive racing in the fall of 2012, while her husband hung up his boots for good last July. Both have enjoyed travelling the globe together and talking to people about the power of sport and the power of soccer. “ With the Women’s World Cup coming here it will have a big positive impact on the kids of Vancouver and Canada, especially the girls,” McIvor- Demerit predicts. “ Hopefully they are able to get out and watch in person ... I know sometimes it just takes one pat on the back from your sporting hero to really set the wheels in motion. Often the kids may have a chat with ( the players) or have a connection with them over social media that will inspire the girls to pursue their passions and dreams.” Growing up in Whistler, McIvor- Demerit was inspired by the local ski community although, admittedly, a lot of those role models were men. Of course, things are different these days as young girls can look up to a ski cross star like Ashleigh McIvor- Demerit or a soccer power like Christine Sinclair when searching for a positive female mentor. “ It’s inspiring for young girls to see the women doing so well,” McIvor- Demerit says. “ So it’s really neat that this is kind of the first couple of generations where the female athletes have such powerful role models to look up to, who have had success and have been able to make a career out of it in some cases.” She hopes the women’s soccer team will be able to take advantage of the once- in- a- lifetime opportunity to play on the game’s biggest stage, in their home country, in front of their own fans, as she was able to do five years ago. Own the Podium will help. Created in the leadup to the 2010 Olympics to help medal- calibre athletes like McIvor- DeMerit fulfil their potential, the program has continued since Vancouver. The women’s soccer team will receive $ 2.25 million through the program to offset training costs in 2014- 15. McIvor- DeMerit also believes national team coach John Herdman will have the team wellprepared; she applauds his tireless work ethic, and the pride and passion he’s instilled into the Canadian soccer program. “ I hope ( the Canadian women’s team) can find energy and feel like people have come out there because they want them to do well genuinely and it’s not because of unrealistic expectations,” McIvor- Demerit said. “ Expectations are high because they are a strong team and they have had good support.” Ashleigh McIvor This story was produced by the Postmedia editorial department as a result of FIFA Women’s World Cup’s interest in this topic. FIFA Women’s World Cup was not given the opportunity to put restrictions on the content or review it prior to publication. A five- part series on Canadian athletes– or those who call Canada home– and why they love the Beautiful Game. Today: Ashleigh McIvor May 9: Rachel Homan Soccer: A Love Story Marriage turns Olympic ski star into a soccer fan. Ashleigh McIvor- DeMerit believes World Cup could have a big impact on Canadian girls. P R E S E N T E D B Y F I FA WO M E N ’ S W O R L D C U P 2 0 1 5 Ashleigh McIvor, who won ski cross gold at the 2010 Olympic Games, became interested in soccer after marrying former Vancouver Whitecap Jay DeMerit. ---- Photo: Craig MacEwen, Special to Postmedia News 103 RD GREY CUP CHAMPIONSHIP NOVEMBER 29 Buy season tickets and secure seats for the Championship Game! NOVEMBER 25– 29 1 0 3 G R E Y C U P F E S T I VA L . C A # G R E Y C U P F E S T I VA L VISIT BLUEBOMBERS. COM OR CALL 204 784.7448 M BERS. N WHEAT KINGS 8 HITMEN 2 BRUCE BUMSTEAD / BRANDON SUN Brandon players celebrate Eric Roy’s opening goal during the second period at Westman Place Friday night. Wheat Kings reach WHL final Oust Hitmen in five games, will face Kelowna or Portland By Rob Henderson C_ 05_ May- 02- 15_ FP_ 01. indd C5 5/ 1/ 15 11: 24: 18 PM

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