Killarney Shamrocks repeat as THHL Champions


With a 2-0 victory over the Carberry Plainsmen in game three of their best-of-five final, the Killarney Shamrocks captured the 2016/17 Tiger Hills Hockey League Championship.

The game was played here at the Don Paterson Arena at the Shamrock Centre on Friday night. The Shamrocks won the first two games of the final 7-2 and 5-2.

This is the second consecutive THHL Championship, as the Shamrocks also won the crown in 2015/16 on their way to winning the Manitoba Senior “A” championship last season.

Stud defenseman Clayton Heinrichs opened the scoring in the series-clinching game when he tallied, assisted by high-scoring winger Brayden Cuthbert, at the 2:25 mark of the first period. Little did anyone know at this time that, with a tight checking effort, this goal would hold up as the game and series winner.

Heinrich’s goal would be the only marker in the game until mid-way through the final period, when Shamrocks’ star d-man Reid Gow deked Plainsmen goalie Brett Willows and deposited the biscuit into the yawning cage. Gow was assisted on the play by two of the Shamrocks offensive playoff stars, Ryan Howatt and Daniel Stagg.

This goal proved to be the icing on the cake for the Shamrocks as they went on to the 2-0 victory – and the league championship.

Killarney’s netminder Brian Archibald was his usual stellar self, and the Plainsmen team, try as they may, would not beat him on this night as “Archie” pitched a shutout. A brilliant effort by a brilliant goaltender!

While the Shamrocks now have the Tiger Hills Hockey League sitting on their mantelpiece, the season is not over. This week will see the Shamrocks begin defense of their 2016 Manitoba Senior “A” championship.

With the first game of a round robin Manitoba provincial Senior “A” scheduled in Rivers this Thursday, the Shamrocks will not have long to rest on their laurels. While the game is in Rivers, the Shamrocks will be meeting the North Central Hockey League Champions, Miniota/Elkhorn.

Following this, the Shamrocks will travel to “the big smoke” next Sunday, April 2 (12:30 p.m.) to meet the winner of the North West Hockey League. With the final Manitoba championship series being a round robin affair, the results of these two games will determine if the Shamrocks travel to Winnipeg the following weekend for a four-team playoff to determine the Manitoba champion.

So, while the Shamrocks have the THHL trophy in their bag, they hopefully still have lots of games left to be played.

From the Blue-Line: Last year the Shamrocks won the Manitoba championship by downing Carman, and then Lac du Bonnet in the final. However, neither of these two teams will be back in this year’s playoffs. One team who will be competing is the winner of the Portage/Notre Dame series which is going to game seven…The well-deserving winner of this year’s MVP in the THHL playoffs was former Killarney Minor Hockey star, former Spokane Chief, former Brandon Wheat Kings d-man, Reid Gow. Reid was second in playoff scoring with eight goals and 20 assists in 12 games. Make no mistake about it; Reid is the man who drives the team bus! The Rocks’ Paul Coffey/Erik Karlsson! Reid was awarded the Blane Jarvis THHL MVP trophy. Jarvis is a former Gladstone Laker star who succumbed in a tragic snowmobiling accident…Leading the playoff scoring derby was Zeanan Ziemer of the Carberry Plainsmen who had 15 goals and 15 assists in 15 games. McDavid like stats!…Killarney’s Brian Archibald led playoff goalies with a 1.91 GAA…Eight Shamrocks in the Top 20 in league playoff scoring – the aforementioned Gow, Ryan Howatt (wow did he step up), steady Jesse Bernard, sniper Aubrey Chapman, dynamic Brayden Cuthbert, the much under-rated Daniel Stagg, former Prince Albert Raider Bryce Lamb and THHL regular season scoring champion Isaac Friesen…Certainly coaches Shayne Skeoch and Logan Towns, as well as GM Patrick Monkman and team president David Jones must be proud of the team they have assembled and kept together for the last couple of seasons…2-0 in the final game says a lot of not only goalie Brian Archibald, but the “d” corps of captain Jamie Schultz, Clayton Heinrichs, Spencer Haney, Lee Magwood, Colton Magwood and Reid Gow. They shut down a high scoring offensive Plainsmen team. Not easily done! And the d-men are usually only as good as the back-checking, two-way forwards. So obviously the forwards did their jobs!…Winning a championship is tough, defending it is even tougher. Let’s not forget there are a lot of high caliber teams in this league – a league which has many skilled players, many of whom are only a couple of steps away from “the big show.” A top-notch league!…Only 10 minor penalties handed out in the final game. Heard it said that the THHL has top-notch officials – and you cannot have a league without them. A job well done!…So, now wearing the THHL championship belt, it is on to the provincials…Follow the action!

ICING ON THE CAKE – MVP of the playoffs Reid Gow adds the icing on the cake for the Shamrocks, as he puts the bouncing puck in the back of the net for Killarney’s second goal of the game, midway through the third period. 

TWO-TIME THHL CHAMPION KILLARNEY SHAMROCKS – Back (from left): coach Shayne Skeoch, Torin Howarth, Tanner Pugh, coach Logan Towns, Isaac Friesen, Lee Magwood, Ryan Howett, Spencer Haney, Thomas Bell, Lane Ganske, Darris Hardern, team doctor Derek Kinley, and manager Patrick Monkman. Middle: Bryce Lamb, Miles Jones, Andrew Lochhead, Clayton Heinrichs, Brayden Cuthbert, Colton Magwood, Reid Gow, Daniel Stagg, and Jamie Schultz. Front: Jesse Ramsden, Aubrey Chapman, Jesse Bernard, and Brian Archibald. Missing: Tanner Anderson, Josh Sylvester, and team president David Jones.

THE CUP – Captain Jamie Schultz of the Killarney Shamrocks accepts the THHL Championship Trophy from league refereeing chief and Hockey Manitoba rep Brian Fleming.

PLAYOFF MVP – Reid Gow accepts the Blane Jarvis Memorial Trophy for MVP of the playoffs.

HOISTING THE CUP – Below, the Shamrocks hoist the “Championship Cup” for the second year in a row.