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Four teams remain and two best-of-three series remain.

The Winkler Flyers vs Virden Oil Capitals series has gone back and forth with both teams getting in punches while the same can be said about the Steinbach Pistons and Blizzard Junior 'A' Hockey Club series. Both are tied at two games apiece heading into game five on Saturday night.

Pistons vs Blizzard:

After a grueling seven-game series against Dauphin, most people are surprised by the Blizzard. In reality, there isn't much to be surprised about. While they faced a daunting task going from finishing off the Kings in triple overtime in game seven to playing game one against Steinbach with just one day rest, the Blizzard are used to very little rest and plenty of travel.

They are the most northern team in the league and no road trip is a short one, other than their trip to Swan Valley. Besides that, the Blizzard are very used to spending dozens of hours on the bus. The Blizzard may be the most impressive team remaining in the playoffs. They never seem to lose a step and now, they're two games away from advancing to the league final.

That; however, will not be an easy feat. After dropping game four, 4-2, their series against Steinbach now heads back to La Broquerie as the Pistons will host game five. Steinbach also holds home-ice advantage should the series go to seven games. 

The winning team in this series scored four goals in the last three games. The losing team has given up two goals in the last two games. The Blizzard won 21 games away from home ice in the regular season and they proved in their first-round series with Dauphin that they can get the job done on the road.

Steinbach lost just three games on home ice in the regular season. They then won their first two home games of the playoffs before losing game one against the Blizzard.

Steinbach has all the experience in the world. They won a championship last year. The Blizzard does not have that same experience. But, they have the top goaltender in the league and a group that never quits and works harder than any other team. 

This should be a fun best-of-three with the winner advancing to the league championship

Oil Capitals vs Flyers:

After winning game three on the road, the Virden Oil Capitals had a great opportunity to take a three-games to one series lead on home ice. They came within inches of doing so as they hit the crossbar twice in overtime against Winkler at Tundra Oil & Gas Place.

Dalton Andrew ended it. The 20-year-old, who led the MJHL in regular season scoring, finished the game just more than halfway into double overtime on Thursday night in a thrilling 5-4 win. What did Andrew do to celebrate the big goal? He immediately opened the bench gate and went right into the dressing room. He knows it is a big goal, but he knows the job is not done yet. 

Both teams were great in the regular season on home ice. The Flyers went 24-4-0-1 while the Oil Capitals went 19-6-1-3. Neither team has won a home game in this round yet. Virden nearly put the Flyers on the brink of elimination. Instead, the Flyers now regain home-ice advantage as they get set to host game five on Saturday evening and if needed, they will also host game seven next week.

Surely, one of these teams will be able to win a game on their home ice. Virden has outscored the Flyers, 14-8 in the series. What do they have to show for outscoring their opponent by six goals? Nothing. it comes down to a best-of-three and the winner will advance to the championship series where a berth to the Centennial Cup in Oakville will be on the line.

Winkler is an extremely physical team and Virden has shown that they can play that way as well, even though that isn't their true identity. Both teams boast great offensive talents and both teams have solid goaltending. 

It's a true toss-up regarding who will win this series; however, many fans still think the Flyers will win as they have home-ice advantage.

The second round of the MJHL playoffs has been a thrill and the ride continues Saturday evening in Steinbach and Winkler. 

It was another strong season off the field for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The CFL club announced it posted a net operating profit of $5.7 million in 2023, a season that saw Winnipeg (14-4) finish atop the West Division for a third straight year.

The community-owned franchise also made a fourth straight Grey Cup appearance, dropping a 28-24 decision to the Montreal Alouettes at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. Winnipeg announced its 2023 profit Thursday upon releasing its annual report.

Revenue totalled $50.5 million in 2023, up $5.1 million (11.2 per cent) over 2022. The club's gate receipts increased to $15.1 million (9.6 per cent ahead of last year) while game-day, merchandise, and concessions revenue hit $11.5 million, (10.5 per cent increase).

However, the numbers continue to look bleak for Valour FC, the Winnipeg-based Canadian Premier League soccer club owned and operated by the Blue Bombers. The report stated that Valour lost $1.25 million last year and said the club's finances continue to be uncertain.

The Bombers reported a $950,000 loss from operating the CPL franchise on its 2022 annual report.

The community of Erickson is all set to welcome some of the best archers in the province this weekend.

On Sunday, April 14, Erickson Recreation Centre -- located on 29 Queen Elizabeth Avenue in the community -- will host the 2024 Manitoba Indoor 3D championships. 

The one-day event will see practices taking place between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. with round one shooting starting right after practice. This leads up to the awards ceremony for group two which wraps up the event at about 4:30 p.m.

Registration is full at this time and Myles Meir says archers of all ages will be taking part.

"We have some pretty good competitors," said Meir. "We also have some archers that will be shooting for the first time. It's going to be a great experience for all involved."

Myles also welcomes spectators from all around to the community.

"When we're able to do something like this into the community, it brings awareness to the hunting community and the archery community," added Meir. "It's something that you don't often see in a very small town. It's very beneficial for the community and everyone around it."

The club is also hosting a 3D Target Prize Raffle and a 50/50 Raffle. McMunnys Restaurant, located on-site will be open all day to serve breakfast and lunch.

So if you're looking for something to do on Sunday, Erickson Recreation Centre could be the perfect spot to see all of the action. 

Makenna Williment grew up in a hockey home and has loved the game for as long as she can remember.

It's a sport that allows her to grow and be a part of something bigger. It's also a sport that she's very good at and all of her contributions on and off the ice certainly have not gone unnoticed. While this year's campaign has now come to an end for Makenna, she now gets the chance to look back at the season it was and the fun she had.

Back with the Balmoral Hall Blazers of the Junior Women's Hockey League, the team's competition included games against clubs from across North America. They won 13 of their 17 regular season games, finishing in a tie for second place, just behind the North American Hockey Academy. Across those 17 games, Makenna finished top 10 in team scoring with two goals and three assists.

Makenna and the team then went to Washington for the Challenge Cup from February 16 to 18. Playing five games in three days saw the team win two of their contests, while two ended in a tie and their final game resulted in a hard-fought 4-2 loss against Shattuck St. Mary's. The team's season was set to roll on a few weeks after that event as they took part in the national event in Boston.

Four teams remained, all of which were two wins away from winning a championship. Balmoral Hall went up against Stanstead in their semi-final and came up short which they followed up with another tough loss in the bronze medal match as the Blazers finished in fourth place.

That said, Makenna still believes this season was a special one and one that she will never forget.

"It meant a lot to us that we were able to get that far," said Williment. "We didn't let that tough weekend define us as a team because we did so well throughout the year."

Makenna finished the season with four goals and four assists across 22 games.

"I thought it was a pretty good season for me," offered Williment. "I probably could have contributed more than I did, but I was contributing in other ways and I'm happy with how things went."

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Hockey Stick for Golf Club:

Makenna will now shift her focus to enjoying the beautiful weather that Manitobans wait for all winter long. The hockey star is a big golfer and plays plenty throughout the summer months at courses around Winnipeg and while she focuses plenty on improving her game, it's not just about her.

Alongside her brother Ethan who plays with the Dauphin Kings, the duo join forces to provide lessons to younger players who are trying to get into the game and improve themselves.

"Being able to teach younger kids how to play the game is fun and it's something that I get to experience with Ethan," offered Makenna. "It's a great opportunity to help kids out, we have so much fun. We swing and laugh, it's a great time."

Speaking about the relationship she has formed with her brother, Makenna says he means everything to her.

"We are very close and we have been since we were young," said Williment. "He's a great role model for me, I'm always looking up to him. He always is giving me feedback to make me a better person on and off the ice as well, we have a special bond."

The Next Chapter:

After spending the summer on the course and with her family and friends, Makenna will be back with the Blazers next season for one more campaign as a junior. Ironically enough, Ethan will return to Dauphin next season for one more campaign as a junior player.

Following next year, Makenna will make the near 24-hour trip to Syracuse, New York, as Williment has committed to join the Division 1 Syracuse Orange women's hockey team in time for the 2025-26 season.

Playing against the top NCAA teams in the nation, the Orange finished this past season with seven wins.

"I had a few different options, but Syracuse seemed like a perfect fit for me," said Williment. "The school has everything I was looking for and the faculty that I'm looking to pursue which was huge for me. It's just a perfect spot."

As Makenna looks ahead to the future, she embraces the excitement of realizing her childhood dream while remaining grateful for the journey that has led her to this moment. With unwavering determination and a supportive network, Makenna is poised to make her mark both on and off the ice as she takes the next step in her hockey career

"It's very exciting for me, it is something that I have been looking forward to since I was just a young kid," ended Williment. "To finally make this dream come true, it's huge for me and it means the world."

The Dauphin Kings handed out their season awards after coming up short in a seven-game series against the Blizzard.

Outstanding Character Award- Dauphin Herald Award - Joshua Schmidt
 
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Skills & Sportsmanship Award- Steve "Boomer" Hawrysh Award - Cayden Glover
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Most Inspirational Player Award- Johnny Kay Memorial Award - Ethan Williment
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Most Improved Player Award- Dave Snitka Memorial Award - Rylan Gage & Aiden Murray
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Community Involvement Award - Dave Seeley Memorial Award - Madden Murray
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The Bill and June Atta Boy Award - Sheldon Shyiak
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Dauphin Minor Hockey - Rookie of the Year - Gavin Nemis & Gabriel Bugeaud
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Most Popular Player On & Off the Ice - Ernie Hlady Memorial Award - Logan Walker
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Best Defensive Player - Barry Trotz Award - Ethan Williment
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Parkland Source for Sports 3 Stars of the Season - 1st Cole Sheffield / 2nd Jordan Bax / 3rd Naaman Hofer
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Leading Points - Cayden Glover
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Best Defenseman Award - Joe Dawson Memorial Award - Naaman Hofer 
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Most Valuable in Regular Season - Cole Sheffield & Jordan Bax
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Playoffs Most Valuable Player - Cole Sheffield
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Lily Montagnion loves that her teammates challenge her. 

She loves the thrill of competing and there is no better feeling for her than finishing a race after giving it her all. It just so happens that more often than not, Montagnion finishes her races near the top or even on top of the leaderboard.

The Gilbert Plains native is in her third year swimming with the Parkland Gators.

"I love being able to stay fit," said Montagnion. "I also love that I get the opportunity to advance at a skill that I am very fond of."

At an event earlier this year in Winnipeg, Montagnion was all over the top of the leaderboard as she finished with a pair of silver medals to go along with a pair of bronze medals. 

Lily has certainly grown to love swimming over the years and while she knows there is plenty of hard work ahead if she wants to achieve her goals, the Gilbert Plains swim star is committed and dedicated to becoming the best swimmer and teammate that she can.

"I've been enjoying my butterfly stroke this year, so it's certainly something that I want to improve on," offered Montagnion. "We have a great group of swimmers, I love being a Gator."

In her most recent action at a meet in Brandon, Lily earned herself another silver medal to go along with two bronze medals. Lily's goal is to get her 'AA' time in the 50m freestyle race and to do so, she will look to continue making great waves going up against the top age-eligible swimmers from across the province.

"I would say this year has been pretty good, but last year was probably a better year for me," said Montagnion. "Looking forward to next year, I'm hoping to continue getting my times back up and continuing with the skill that I know I have."

Out of the pool, Lily is very active and another passion of hers is playing volleyball. Now in her second season with the Predators 14U team, Montagnion has grown to love the sport. 

"I enjoy that I'm a pretty good player and I love the group of girls that we have on our team, we work together so well," Montagnion mentioned.

Just because Lily enjoys plenty of success in the water, it doesn't mean that will translate to success on the court. However, in Lily's case, it certainly has. The Predators have put together an outstanding season which includes a fifth-place finish at a premier tournament to go along with a pair of bronze medal finishes in Brandon and Regina.

"We definitely have improved and I'm very honoured to be on this team," said Montagnion. "We're going to continue to improve and I'm very excited about that, it's great to know that we continue to get better."

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The Predators also have three gold medal finishes to their names this season with a championship in Swan River and they also won the Bandits tournament on two separate occasions.

As Lily says, there's nothing sweeter than winning.

"It feels amazing, I always knew we were capable of great things, I really believe in this team," ended Montagnion.

Currently, Lily and her team are gearing up for a tournament in Minot, North Dakota, followed by the provincial championships. She is excited about the upcoming challenges and is confident in her team's ability to perform at their best.

Running back Andrew Harris will sign a one-day contract with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this month and retire as a member of the team, the CFL club said Friday. 

"Thank you for everything," the Blue Bombers said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, in a post that included a goat emoji and a graphic of some of Harris's accomplishments. 

Harris, a 36-year-old Winnipeg native, helped the Blue Bombers win Grey Cup titles in 2019 and 2021. 

He also earned a CFL championship in 2011 with the B.C. Lions and in 2022 with the Toronto Argonauts.

Harris, who became the CFL's all-time leading Canadian rusher in 2019, registered five 1,000-yard rushing seasons over his 13-year CFL career. He played in 12 games last season for the Argonauts, recording 229 rushing yards on 49 carries with two touchdowns.

Harris plans to sign his ceremonial contract on April 27. 

It was a great weekend of badminton for some players from the Ethelbert School as they competed in the Swan Valley Invitational.

Ksenia Romanets put together a perfect event as she beat teams from Swan Valley, Flin Flon, and The Pas in her round-robin. Then come playoff time, Romanets beat Swan Valley in her quarterfinal matchup and Dauphin in her semi-final. Then in the championship match, Ksenia beat Tesslyn Beauchamp of Flin Flon, 21-18, and 21-6.

The team of Brittany Stratuliak and Payton Dudar claimed a gold medal in the girls' doubles event. They capped off the event with a thrilling three-set win over Crystal Zamzow and Maya Atkinson of Swan Valley, 21-17, 18-21, and 23-21.

They also beat teams from Flin Flon and the Pas. 

Round one of the Turnbull Cup playoffs is in the books as just four teams remain.

Jeff Henson downed Darnell Duff in the first round of 730CKDM's MJHL Playoff Pick-Em.

Kings vs Blizzard: Henny Won 

Virden vs Neepawa: Henny Won

Steinbach vs Niverville: Henny & Duffy Tied

Portage vs Winkler: Henny Won 

Round Two:

Pistons vs Blizzard:

Duffy's Predictions: Blizzard in 6

Duffy's Thoughts: Goaltending and the hardest-working team in the league. They needed to split the first two games of the series and they did. Now, they're heading back home to play two games at the Roy H Johnston Arena and it is sure to be jumpin' at the rink. Tomas Anderson will outplay Cole Plowman and the Blizzard will continue to wear down the defending champions.

Henny's Predictions - Pistons in 6

Henny's Thoughts - Steinbach though is coming off a week-long break, so early in the series might be good for the Blizzard if they can carry momentum from round one.  Over the long haul though the Pistons are just too deep,  But if Tomas Anderson gets hot (like he did at times against the Kings, it could make this series interesting.  

Virden vs Winkler:

Duffy's Prediction - Virden in 6

Duffy's Thoughts: They know how to win games when it matters. They advanced to the league final last year and have all that experience to look back on. They can win high-scoring games and low-scoring games. This series should be a treat, but I'm taking playoff experience overall.

Henny's Prediction - Flyers in 7

Henny's Thoughts - I see this being a seven-game war between two deep teams that love to forecheck and play physically.  I took Winkler as the team to win it all this year so I am sticking with them in this series,  

The stage was set.

It was the Brandon U18 Wheat Kings up against the Saskatoon Blazers in front of an incredible crowd at the Hockey for All Centre in Winnipeg on Sunday. The winner would earn the right to compete at the Telus Cup, Canada's U18 National Championship, from April 22-28 in Membertou, Nova Scotia.

Brandon had downed the Blazers in the round-robin. The Blazers doubled up the Winnipeg Wild, 4-2, the night prior for a chance to go up against the Wheat Kings once again, a team that lost their first game in regulation the day prior against Thunder Bay. Brandon had already earned a berth in the finals after two straight wins to open their tournament.

Brady Turko had already put together a great tournament with three goals and two assists in the team's first three games. It was; however, the goaltenders that stole the show in the final as Grayson Malinoski of the Blazers made 30 saves throughout regulation while Burke Hood of Brandon turned away 29 and 60 minutes after no goals were scored, overtime was needed.

It was winner-take-all. 

"We weren't nervous going into overtime, we were a confident group," said Turko. "We also had a power play to start overtime which was nice for us."

Brandon would not score on the man advantage. But, shortly after Kristian Lacelle of Saskatoon stepped out of the box, Turko went into highlight reel mode. He picked up the puck deep in Brandon's zone and worked his way down the ice, ultimately ending up in a 1-on-1 situation now in Blazers territory. Turko made a fantastic move to step around the Blazers defender and then he lifted the puck over the glove of Malinoski as Brady's fourth goal of the tournament confirmed Brandon's trip to Nova Scotia.

"It's such an amazing feeling, I don't know what else to say," offered Turko. "It's just incredible, we worked so hard and to win that game, special."

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Brandon will now make their way to Nova Scotia on April 20 ahead of their first game two days later against the champions from Quebec. Brandon will then play the following day against the host Sydney Rush before games against the Atlantic, Pacific, and Central champions. The two semi-finals are on April 27 and the medal games will be the following day.

"This is only the second time that a Brandon team has advanced to the national tournament so it's a huge honour for us," offered Turko. "We're excited to play against the top U18 teams in the country."

While this will be Turko's first opportunity to play nationally, he's ready for the challenge.

"It's just another set of games, I'm not nervous, I'm just very excited," ended Turko. "This is what we play for, to fight for a national crown and I can't wait to get to Nova Scotia."

A team from Manitoba has not won a medal since 2008 when the Winnipeg Thrashers lost to the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves in the gold medal game. So when Brandon arrives, they will be looking to break a 13-year run of a Manitoba team not finishing in the top three. 

The Parkland U13 Vipers stunned the Bisons fans in attendance and won gold medals to go along with it. 

The Vipers beat a very gold Bisons 13U team in the gold medal match to finish on top of the tournament in Winnipeg this weekend. It was a near perfect overall weekend for the Vipers.

Besides winning the gold medal match in straight sets, the Vipers also swept Bisons 12U Gold, Vision Elite Blue, and the Winman Storm. Parkland beat the Junior Pilots in three sets and tied the Bandits U13.