CARROT RIVER — The Carrot River Outback Thuder’s season has come to an end.
In the Prairie Junior Hockey League’s North Division Semifinals, the division’s top seeded Saskatoon Quakers swept the No. 5 Outback Thunder, 4-0 in a best-of-seven series. That loss came after the Carrot River squad beat the No. 4-seeded Saskatoon Westleys, 2-1, in a Survivor Series.
The Outback Thunder, led by head coach Luke Folk in his first full season, posted a 16-23-1 record after going 6-33-1 a season ago and missing the playoffs. David Wiens was named the league’s Rookie of the Year. The forward and defenceman Luc Marleau were selected for and participated in the PJHL’s inaugural all-star game in January.
“I’m extremely pleased that we were able to rebuild this team, get majority of the players living out here and active in the community, as well as just the tight knit group we were able to create that led to us winning more than last year, making the playoffs again and winning a series,” Outback Thunder general manager Brennan Hall said. “Overall, I’d say it was a successful season, but we are not done yet. We’re going to get started on working to continue our build for next year and be back better and stronger and make a push towards bringing a championship back to Carrot River.”
After falling 8-3 and 9-3 in the first two games of the division semifinals, Carrot River lost 9-1 on Wednesday and 7-2 on Friday to the Quakers last week. The Outback Thunder had some strong moments against the Saskatoon team. For example, Carrot River was only outshot by three, 41-38, in game three. Hall said experience played a role in the series.
“A lot of those guys on the Quakers have played in the league for a bit now and they have lots of experience in the playoffs whereas majority of our team it was their first year in the league without any playoff experience at all,” the general manager said. “The Quakers also had a lot of guys who played higher levels of hockey before joining the PJHL so that experience as well would have been a nice advantage to them.”
In the playoffs, Tanner Dutcawich and Chase Gallant paced the Outback Thunder with eight points each. Both players are 18-year-old rookies who played midget AAA last season. Dutcawich, who has played both forward and defence this season, led the team with five goals.
Bob Dybvig Semifinals
Wednesday, March 4 in Saskatoon
Saskatoon Quakers 9, Carrot River 1
Outback Thunder Scorer: Kayden Graham
Quakers Scorers: Kyle Gray (2), Brendan Kemp (2), Ronan Rheaume, Noah Bakowski, Jordan Hudson, Dodge Long, Hunter Schnell
Goalies: Chance Griffith, Carrot River, 24 saves on 31 shots; Steven Soyko, Carrot River, 8 on 10; Steven Duchscher, Saskatoon, 37 on 38
Notes: The Quakers held 2-0 and 4-0 leads at the intermissions.
Friday, March 6 in Carrot River
Saskatoon Quakers 7, Carrot River 2
Outback Thunder Scorers: David Wiens
Quakers Scorers: Brendan Kemp (2), Nic Prediger, Kyle Gray, Dodge Long, Matthew Wilkinson, Ahmed Ally
Goalies: Chance Griffith, Carrot River, 38 saves on 45 shots; Steven Duchscher, Saskatoon, 15 on 16; Parker Sturby, Saskatoon, 14 on 15
Notes: Wiens gave the Outback Thunder a 1-0 lead at home. The Quakers led 3-1 after the first period and 7-1 after the second.