DEER LAKE It came down to the last game of the regular season, but the playoff matchups for the West Coast High School Hockey League are now set.
The Elwood High Lakers blasted an under-manned St. James Regional High Saints squad 12-4 at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex on Monday night. The Saints needed a victory to leapfrog the Stephenville High Spartans for the fourth and final spot in the post-season.
Jalen Gillard (2), Jared Bartlett (2), Lucas McKay (2), Aaron Young (2), Brandon Smith, Thomas Chaulk, Tyler Seaward and David Hardy racked up the goals for the Lakers.
Tristan Manstan (2), Nick Drover and Nelson King replied in the losing effort.
Isaiah Simms and Tristan Moss split the game in goal for the Lakers, with Saints’ Stephen Fiander suffering the defeat at the other end of the ice.
The Saints actually led the game twice, beginning with a goal from Drover at 13:19 of the first period, from Manstan, that put them up 1-0.
Gillard evened the score just 23 seconds later, an unassisted goal, that would eventually send both squads into the intermission tied at one.
Manstan restored the Saints lead at 10:17 of the second, from Nathan McNeil, but the Lakers would then score 10 goals in a row throughout the rest of the second period and into the third before the Saints would find the back of the net again.
Gillard picked up his second of the night, from McKay, at 8:54 of the second, followed by a Smith marker at 6:40, from Derian Gould and Cody O’Neil. Bartlett made it 4-2 at 6:11, from Jonathan Guy, before Chaulk struck at 5:08, from Gillard. Seaward wrapped up the second-period scoring at 4:36, from McKay and Gould, with the Lakers up 6-2.
Hardy continued the onslaught on the out-of-gas Saints with a goal at 14:28 of the third, from Chaulk and Smith, while Young made it 8-2 at the nine-minute mark, with Bartlett and Guy drawing the helpers.
McKay notched his first goal of the game at 6:48, from Chaulk and Gillard, before replicating the feat at 4:24, with Chaulk and Gillard again credited with the assists. Bartlett put his side up 11-2 with 3:33 remaining, assisted by Guy.
King finally broke the scoring streak at 1:42, from Andrew Graham, but Young buried another one with 30 seconds left in the game, unassisted, to make it a 12-3 contest.
Manstan managed to pop one home with five seconds on the clock to bring the score to 12-4, but it was a small consolation for the Saints once the final buzzer sounded.
The top-seeded Corner Brook Regional High Titans (10-1-1) will open the playoffs against the Spartans (2-9-1), while the second-place Elwood High Lakers (7-2-3) battle the Gros Morne Academy Panthers (4-3-5) in the other semifinal series. The Saints miss out on the post-season with a final record of 1-9-2.