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Sabres carve themselves a golden win

The St. Albert Sabres won the gold in the provincial championships for the first time since 1999.
0604 sabres win sup CC
U15 AAA St. Albert Sabres forward Riley Thorpe strikes a classical pose of triumph for his goal to tie the game up on March 27, 2022. DAVE WATLING/Photo

After more than 20 years, the U15 AAA St. Albert Sabres made the big banner theirs again, as provincial champs after winning a tightly-played game against the Okotoks Oilers in the Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships at the Jubilee Arena in Fort Saskatchewan on March 27.

The fierce contest was a good match skill-wise, according to Coach Geoff Giacobbo, with the Sabres ending up with the overwhelming victory 5-1.

“Okotoks is a very good team: their defence, they have very good goaltending. I thought we played a real solid team game. We kept the puck in front of us and we were able to capitalize on their mistakes. We scored some real nice, high-skill goals. I think the game was closer than the score, for sure,” said Giacobbo.

The game started off with the Sabres rallying on their strengths with two goals in the first period, the first of which was scored by team captain Jack Kachkowski only 1:38 into play. Forward Ben Deacon earned another point at the 16:26 mark, with forwards Finn Kallay and Ty Meunier bringing in another two goals during the second period. Only Okotoks forward Kaden Hayes managed a goal against the onslaught, while Sabres’ forward Will Lutic scored the fifth and final goal in the third period, sealing the deal for the returning champions.

This being the Alberta Elite Hockey League’s inaugural season, the win makes the St. Albert Sabres the first team to have their name etched on league’s U15 AAA Provincial Championship trophy.

The game was indeed closer as Okotoks managed 31 shots (on Matthew Kondro in net for the Sabres), pretty even with the 35 shots by the Sabres. The loss still earned Okotoks the silver, while the Sherwood Park Flyers won 4-1 over Airdrie Xtreme for the bronze.

It was an exciting series, said Giacobbo, and the team’s preparation for it started on day one.

“I just think that we progressively got better from September until the final game. We talked about enjoying the grind. We know it's hard to be a competitive hockey player. There’s going to be fun days and hard days. You have to enjoy that. We really preach a ‘team first’ philosophy and Jack as a second-year player and our captain, he's an elite player. He was able to model that same philosophy and the team buys into that mentality, which I think was huge for us,” he said.

The last time the St. Albert team won provincials was back in 1999. Giacobbo was coach back then, too.

Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns, and profiles on people.
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