Thursday July 24, 2014

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Coalers savour fourth straight title

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The Bienfait Coalers gather for a team picture after winning their fourth straight Big Six Hockey League title in late March in Midale. (Photo submitted)

The Bienfait Coalers are still the premier team for senior hockey in southeast Saskatchewan.

The Coalers won their fourth straight championship on March 25 with a 5-2 victory over the Midale Mustangs. The win gave Bienfait a sweep in the best-of-seven league final.

Bienfait is just the second franchise in Big 6 history to win four consecutive championships. The Wawota Flyers won four in a row from 1972 to 1975.

“To accomplish the four-peat, it's just all of the guys getting together,” said coach Jamie Wrigley. “I give my players a lot of credit. I'm the type of coach that listens to his players … and if I can contribute, I will. But it takes a team to win, and that's what's happened in the last four years.”

After posting a perfect 18-0 record in the regular season, the Coalers ran into a rough patch in the league's semi-final round, as they needed six games to dispatch of the Carnduff Red Devils; Carnduff led the series 2-1 at one point.

“Carnduff played us tough,” said Wrigley. “We probably weren't playing our smartest hockey against Carnduff, but once everything came around, the guys decided that it was time to get to back to work, and that's what it takes to win the Big 6 – hard work and smart hockey.”

And while they were perfect in the regular season, Wrigley said that the league was tougher this year, as there was more parity. The Coalers had to battle through injuries and other forms of adversity this season.

“I think we had our whole line-up throughout the year just once, and that was in the very first game,” said Wrigley.

Wrigley is hopeful that the Coalers can become the first team to win five consecutive Big 6 titles. It appears that most of the team will be back next season, and they have already spoken to players from elsewhere about joining the team in 2014-15.

 


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