Hounds hungry for more after winning Sask. title
The Notre Dame Hounds are enjoying life as top dogs in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League, but the battle is far from won.
Notre Dame is to resume its pursuit of the Telus Cup — the national midget AAA title — on Thursday when a Western regional qualifier begins in Thunder Bay, Ont. The winner of that four-day event will advance to the Telus Cup, April 2329 in Sudbury.
To this point, the Hounds have been virtually flawless.
After posting an eye-popping regular-season record of 39-2-12, Notre Dame won all nine of its playoff games.
“It’s a good group of character kids, top to bottom, that showed up every day wanting to get better and wanting to work,’’ Hounds head coach Devan Praught said. “It just turns into energy. They’re fired up every day to get out there.
“As a coaching staff, we’ve been impressed. It has been a nice ride, for sure, and it’s fun to go to the rink every day.”
Notre Dame clinched the title Wednesday with a 3-2 victory over the host Prince Albert Mintos — a conquest that enabled the Hounds to sweep the best-of-five championship series.
Wednesday ’s win was especially sweet for seven returnees from a 2016-17 Hounds squad that finished second in the regular season, only to be bounced by the seventhseeded Yorkton RawTec Maulers in the first round.
The septet of incumbents — goalie Riley Kohonick, defencemen Cody Lehner and Quinn Schmiemann, and forwards Cordel Larson, Luke Mylymok, Nolan Renwick and Brad Morrissey — savoured the other end of the spectrum by helping Notre Dame enjoy a spectacular 2017-18 campaign.
“I would like to think that even if we had won last year, we’d still be this hungry to win, because it’s competitive sports,” Praught said. “You’ve got to want to win every time you take the ice.”
They nearly accomplished precisely that, winning 48 of 53 regular-season and playoff games while outscoring the opposition 262-81.
“We set a goal as a team early in the season that we wanted to win a national championship,” Praught said. “We’re taking care of the process and we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.
“We’re going to focus on practice tomorrow and take it from there. But when you do take a minute and sit back and take a look at the numbers, you can’t help but maybe smile a little bit.”
The Notre Dame Hounds celebrate their Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League title victory Wednesday in Prince Albert.