Beavers hold on to top spot with playoffs approaching

The Beavers celebrate a goal in Warren over the weekend. Carman continues to hold on to the first place position in the SEMHL. (Photo by Dean Owen)

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The Carman Beavers managed to get the two points off the Warren Mercs Saturday night when the Beavers won 4-3 in a shootout in South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League action Saturday night in Warren, Man., to hold onto the top spot in the league while three teams are all tied for second.

The first place Beavers found themselves down 2-0 to the Mercs after the first period. Wes Pawluk and Johnny Lazo were the Warren goal scorers in the first 20 minutes. Beavers’ captain, Aaron Lewadniuk, scored back-to-back goals in the first five minutes of the second to tie the game at 2-2 but again the Mercs took the lead when Kyle Luschinski scored Warren’s final goal of the game to make it 3-2.

Carman exploded out of the gate in the third period and leading scorer Mark Owen notched his 31st goal of the season to deadlock the game at 3-3 with nearly a full period to play. Jake Dudar, Owen, and Lewadniuk picked up points on all 3 Carman Beavers goals. The teams went back and forth trading chances at both ends for the rest of the third period until the final buzzer sounded.

An overtime period ended in a draw so the teams separated for a shootout. Carman goalie Steve Christie made 35 saves to pick up the win for the top-seeded team while Owen scored the game-winner in the shootout for the Beavers. Warren goaltender Hayden Dola stopped 31 shots he faced.

With the Beavers in sole-possession of first place by just two points, the fate of first place and a bye through the first round of the playoffs is still up for grabs. The Islanders have two games remaining with 27 points on the season. Warren, Portage and Morden are all tied with 25 points but each has a different amount of games remaining.

Warren has the best chance at knocking the Beavers out of first place as the Mercs have three games remaining this season to the Beavers two. The Islanders also have two games remaining this season, one of which is against the Warren Mercs, and the Morden Redskins have but one game remaining and would need some help to climb up the standings.

The Beavers are back on the ice Thursday night for their final home game of the regular season. The Notre Dame Hawks visit the Beavers at 7:30 p.m. before the Beavers and Hawks end the SEMHL regular season February 6.

Warren plays Altona Tuesday evening before taking on the Portage Islanders Friday night.