Playoff week: Dauphin’s 19-year-olds earn spotlight

The Turnbull Cup Playoffs begin on Friday for some teams across the league, the Dauphin Kings will open on home ice one day later when the Swan Valley Stampeders come to town on Saturday night.

Dauphin owned the season series with seven wins in eight tries but as they all say, the past is the past. Now, the Kings are preparing for their Parkland rival, one that will be a tough opponent. Late last week, we highlighted our rookies and today, we’ll take a look at our players that have some more junior experience.

Starting off with our all-star goaltender. Carson Cherepak was acquired back in September and he made his debut with the team during the second night of the season. All he did was make 45 saves to record a shutout in his first game as a King. Since Cherepak has been showing why he is one of the best in the league. The Winnipeg netminder finished the regular season with 30 wins, the most of any goalie in the league and his goals-against average and save percentage were right near the top of the league. Cherepak was named the league’s goaltender of the year and he was also on the league’s first all-star team.

Garrett Hrechka

Knows all about playing in Dauphin,  he was born in the city. A former Parkland Ranger all-star, Garrett is in his first full season with the team and he’s suited up in 39 games. With six goals and five assists to his name, the Dauphinite is putting together a solid first full year in the league. Garrett has said playing in his hometown is a dream come true and now, he’s looking forward to his first playoffs with the team he grew up watching and idolizing.

Nick Braun:

He came into town relatively unknown. The West Vancouver native scored twice last season in five games with the North Van Wolf Pack. And while he showed his skillset at training camp, some didn’t expect Braun to do as much as he has this season. Braun scored 28 times this season which was the second-most on the team and he added 17 assists. His 45 points were the fifth-most on the team and if Dauphin goes on to have playoff success, you can expect Braun to be front and centre helping the team do just that.

Owen Wareham:

He’s scored some big goals this season, perhaps most notably against the Virden Oil Capitals a few weeks back when he scored as Dauphin came from behind late to win an overtime thriller. He’s scored six goals this season and has 16 assists. Most importantly, Owen is a lockdown defender in his own end and playing alongside 20-year-old captain Parker Malchuk, the duo has become one of the top defensive pairings in the league. Owen’s also not playing far away from home as he’s from Rivers.

Ben Hackl:

It hasn’t been an easy past couple of years for the former Kenora Thistle as he’s missed his fair share of time due to injury. Somehow, though, Ben has stayed positive the entire time as he prepares to return to the lineup. A tireless worker, whether it’s in the offensive done or defensive zone, Hackl will do whatever it takes to help his team win. Whether that’s scoring a goal, making a great defensive player or anything in between, he’s a motivated forward that is all about the team. In 40 games this year, Hackl has four goals and 16 assists.

Jayden Harris:

He missed a sizeable amount of time due to an upper-body injury sustained against the Virden Oil Capitals. But the Regina native is now back on the ice and with that, one of the team’s top penalty killers is back in the lineup. A forward that excels defensively, Jayden recorded a big assist earlier this season in a game that was won by the Kings in a shootout, 2-1. In 38 games this season, the penalty-killing specialist has five points.