Coming off a magical SEMHL Finals win last year, the Ste. Anne Aces are primed to make another long trek through the post-season and have another championship in their sights.

"We have a really strong team, a lot of guys that really get along, and a great core group," says Steph Pattyn, an assistant coach with the Aces. "They're bonded and they've been playing well. The season was a lot of fun. Our goal was to win as many games as we could, and we did. That turned out really well. Now, the page turns and playoffs start, it's the best time of the year. Anything can happen so we were really excited with the start of the series."

The Aces were able to take the first two games in the best-of-five series, but Ile des Chenes picked up a victory in game 3 to keep their season alive.

"They really showed up," surmises Pattyn. "It was a good, really hard-fought game. We're ready for (Saturday), being up 2 games to 1, wanting to close out the series. We know the hardest thing to do is end a team's season."

When it comes to finding that next level, Pattyn says that much of the group from last year's run is back and leaning on their experiences.

"This team has been together now for 8 years. As far as the core, we have a lot of core guys who have a lot of playoff experience and know how to win. That's not arrogance, that's a confidence that a good team has to have. It's a mentality we have going back to the finals against Morden, being down 3-0, we knew in game 4 we were going to win and take it one game at a time. Those lessons have really helped us going forward and really wanting to take the same mentality, same approach into these playoffs."

The hockey is fast paced, highly skilled, and something the whole family can enjoy.

Pattyn says the support from not just Ste. Anne but all around the southeast means a great deal to all the Aces and it's greatly appreciated.

"It's everything. We have a lot of local players, and we have local players from Lorette, Oakbank, and Steinbach, so we get support from those communities as well. I know our President and Head Coach Kevin Lansard does a great job inviting young families to the game and making it a family event. We did hockey cards this year, kids could get autographs from the guys, and it encourages kids to come down, wear their Aces jerseys, and get loud. It's been a great year attendance-wise in the regular season and we hope it continues in the playoffs."

Game 4 between the Aces and IDC takes place in Ile des Chenes on Saturday night. Warm-ups are at 7:30 pm and puck drop is at 8:00 pm.