The Wilkie Outlaws have claimed the Senior B Provincial Championship for the eleventh time in the Team’s history. The Outlaws battled it out in the provincial finals this past weekend against the Carnduff Red Devils in a best of three game series for the title.
Game one of the finals on Friday night was nothing short of a long day for the Wilkie players as they were just coming off of their league win against Macklin the night before, hopped on a bus for eight hours to hit the ice for the provincial finals.
Despite the enduring 24-hours leading up to the match-up, the Outlaws resilience and tenacity allowed them to focus on the task-at-hand and take the win for game one with a final score of 6 to 3.
Game two brought the team back to home-ice and with only one win away from the championship, made for an opportunity to give their fans a great show. The Outlaws and Red Devils were tied with under five minutes remaining in the game, however, “the fans got their money’s worth,” when Troy Gerein scored with just two-and-a-half minutes remaining in the game.
“It was great to be able to win the championship at home, our fans and friends and families have been so supportive all year long it was great to be able to take the victory on home ice,” said Derek Keller, head coach and player.
Keller added that this is the eleventh time the Outlaws claimed the Senior B Championship title, an accomplishment not done by any other team in the SWHL.
The Outlaws had a phenomenal season anyway you look at it with a 16-2-2 regular season, claiming the league championship against Macklin and now adding provincial champions to their list. Keller said the chemistry and experience that is obtained by having almost the same group of players year after year, goes a long way.
“I’ve been with the team for about six years now and we’ve had the same guys with some fluctuations but all-in-all, we’ve been able to learn together as a team and to have that chemistry on the ice I would definitely say has helped us be successful over the years.” said Keller.
After posting their victory on Facebook, some fans posted comments asking or encouraging the Outlaws to maybe take a run at the A division, something they have done in the recent past.
“At this point, I don’t really know what we’ll do, ‘A’ is an option and one that we’ll talk about for the next season but we could also go in to ‘C’ or stay in ‘B’, so it’s definitely something we’ll talk about more seriously as the time approaches but as for this year, there were deliberate reasons why we chose to go with ‘B’,” said Keller.
He elaborated stating that at the beginning of the year there were some question marks on their team roster, “some guys were battling injuries and just some other circumstances that left us unsure how rock solid the team would be,” added Keller.
“Everyone who had injuries healed and we actually came back a lot stronger than what could have been anticipated at the beginning of the season,” said Keller.
Whether the Outlaws will make the change into the ‘A’ division or not is to be determined, as for now, Keller said they are going to enjoy some good rest and relaxation with their families and continue a post-season tradition.
“A few of us are flying out on Wednesday, it’s kind of a tradition we have once everything is all said and done to get away somewhere nice and relax, it’s a long season for sure with a lot of sacrifices and demands put on both the players and our families,” said Keller.
Upon return from their getaway, the Outlaws will be handing out awards and thanking their sponsors at their Banquet on April 18, 2019.