Young skaters from across the Lakeland region and beyond — including Lac La Biche players Kale Breton and Faris Abougouche — notched two wins for the Lakeland U13 Panthers in back-to-back games over the weekend. The games, against two different St. Albert teams, clinched a top-spot finish for the Panthers in their Northern Alberta AA Hockey League division.
The games, one played at Lac La Biche's Bold Center on Friday night, and the other at the R.J. Lalonde Arena in Bonnyville on Saturday, saw the regional Panthers team beat the St. Albert Titans 7-2 and then the St. Albert Stars 5-3.
Panthers on top
The wins keep the Panthers in a tie with the Fort McMurray Barons for top spot in the league's eight-team Rural Black Division. Both teams finished the regular season with 54 points, 20 ahead of the third place team. The St. Albert Titans are now in fifth place of their six-team Regional Division, finishing their regular season with a 9-21-1 record. The St. Albert Stars finished the regular season in fourth place of the Regional Division.
The Panthers, who practice from their regional base at the Glendon rink, play regular season home games in other arenas across the Lakeland. Friday night's Bold Center support helped the team's two Lac La Biche players, with Breton scoring two of the Panthers' goals and goaltender Abougouche stopping 19 of the 21 shots he faced. Breton scored two more goals in the Saturday win. The weekend goals kept Breton in the third-spot of the league's top scorers' list with 57 goals on the season.
The NEAHL's AA U13 league is made up of 29 teams in four regional divisions spanning the province.
With the final regular season games wrapping up over the weekend, league playoffs are expected to begin this week.