The Steinbach Huskies are Hanover Tache Junior Hockey League champions for the ninth time.
Ethan Plett scored five times as Steinbach defeated the Red River Mudbugs 9-3 Tuesday night in St. Jean and swept the best-of-seven final in four straight.
Plett found the back of the net three times in the second period and then added two more goals in the third.
"I was just ready for the game and ready to take home a championship," Plett told steinbachonline.com's Carly Koop shortly after the medal, banner and trophy presentations. "This is the first one I got in the 18 years of hockey that I played. This is the first championship that I've won so there was a lot of motivation coming into it and just a big game for me, so I had to take it."
Huskies captain Brandon Thiessen said it was an awesome feeling to accept the championship trophy from HTJHL president Darrell Lupky.
"We've been working towards this all year and it's awesome to finally get it done and have the trophy. The guys worked hard. It feels good to win it with this group of guys. I'm going to miss a lot of them. Happy we got the sweep done and make quick work of them."
Cole Topham, Darius Morrow, Ethan Unger and Ian Friesen also scored for Steinbach in game four.
Friesen, who had eight goals and nine assists in nine games, was named the playoff MVP.
"It feels unreal. I thought I had a pretty good series. Got to thank my linemates Ethan Unger and Cole Topham and the whole team basically, coaches and everything. It was well earned for all the boys."
The Huskies were the league's most dominant team during the 2022-23 season.
Steinbach won 21 of 23 games during the regular season schedule and eight of nine playoff games in capturing the team's first HTJHL title since the spring of 2014.
"This is the most special hockey team I've ever been involved with," noted coach Ben Plett. "Through playing, through coaching - I've never been with a group that works so hard together and got along so well. They pushed each other every single ice time, every single game. It was phenomenal."
"The boys worked really hard for this," Rylen Koop told his favorite reporter who of course is his mom Carly during the post-game celebration. "Didn't lose too many games this year. Came out fighting and the Dogs are champs."
photos courtesy Makenna Martens