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Arena kings rock the rink in Unity

The West Central Wheat Kings scored a big win in game one of the final playoff series to determine a U18 SAAHL provincial champion

UNITY ‑ What do you get when you combine an April playoff game in Unity, that has not been an option for more than two decades, along with the craving of normal after a two-year hockey hiatus and add in the buzz that the West Central Wheat Kings have created in their nine game playoff win streak? You get a rink that is crammed to the rafters with excited hockey fans cheering for the WCWK.

April 2, the Unity Community Centre hosted game one of the best-of-three series to determine a SAAHL U18 provincial champion in a game between the hometown team, West Central Wheat Kings and the south division winner, Regina Vics. The WCWK emerged as the winners by a score of 4-1.

In a highly anticipated first game of the final series, fans flocked to the Unity Community Centre either as longtime supporters of the Wheat Kings or those who have come on board with the buzz the team has created. Three previous playoff series sweeps intensified the excitement the team has generated.

Home-ice advantage has always been the desired outcome for any team in a playoff series. The energy inside the arena was evident upon arrival as fans were anxious to watch warmups and get the best seats in the house for the game action.

The visiting Regina Vics had an early preview of what playoff action was going to be like in a small-town arena as WCWK jerseys and colours could be seen, along with plenty of noise.

After a scoreless first two periods that had the Wheat Kings outshooting the Vics, the third period brought the scoring, and the noise, that resulted in a 4-1 victory for the WCWK.

Hats flooded the ice when hometown boy, Hunter Sperle, scored a hat trick in the third.

Sperle, in an interview following the game told the Press-Herald / about this achievement.

“I got the lucky bounces and the pucks went in the net. They are a good defensive team and by the third period we finally got them figured out.”

Sperle adds about the home crowd experience, “We knew the crowd would be big and everyone was super excited for this game. The crowd did their job and were super loud and got the boys going.

“We’re on a high of 10 straight wins after winning this one. We are hoping to take two straight games and bring home the banner.”

Colbey Frocklage, another Unity player, scored the first goal of the game in the third period.

“At first the big crowd made me nervous but they helped us play and made us realize how important this game was and got everyone going,” Frocklage says.

“It took a while to score as it wasn’t until the third period and after my goal it really got us going, then Hunter scored three after that."

Fans left the arena still humming with the excitement this game provided. It was also reported to the Press-Herald / that passersby could hear the noise outside the arena after each WCWK goal.

As one departing fan noted, “The excitement just kept brewing after a tight first two periods with no scoring but when Frocklage knocked in a goal the crowd went nuts. Sperle’s hat trick just erupted the crowd even more. It was 60 minutes of non-stop action and thrills. What a great game to be part of and we are confident in their ability to win it all.”

Game two is set for April 9 at the Al Ritchie arena in Regina. If a game three is needed, it will be back in Unity on April 12.