Bennett notches pair to lead Lakers to sweep of Spartans

Dave Kearsey
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Derian Gould won a high school hockey championship when he was in Grade 9, but he admits it pales in comparison to winning one in his graduating year when nobody expected it.

Gould had a goal and an assist to lead the Lakers to a 4-1 victory over the Stephenville High Spartans Monday night to claim the championship trophy for the West Coast High School Hockey League.

The victory enabled the Lakers to sweep the series after the Deer Lake boys won the series opener in Stephenville by a 2-0 spread with Tristan Moss recording the goose egg.

Gould couldn’t say enough about the solid team effort that brought the championship run to fruition.

“Everyone stepped it up for the playoffs big time,” Gould said. “We were coming in in last place and barely made it in. Nobody expected us to be here, but we believed in ourselves and managed to pull through.”

Gould has two high school championships to his credit, as well as a provincial major midget hockey championship on his resume after being a key cog for the Colemans Western Kings two years ago in a wild championship run that saw the western side dethrone the St. John’s Privateers.

He couldn’t have written a better script for his final year with the Lakers.

“It’s unbelievable to win in my last year of high school hockey.  Great way to end off my career,” he said. “I wasn’t lucky enough to win another major midget title, but at least I got one.”

Lakers forward Jacob Bennett couldn’t have picked a better time to get the monkey off his back, scoring back-to-back goals in the third period to seal the deal as the hometown Lakers held a slim 2-1 advantage after two periods of hockey.

Bennett’s first goal, with just over five minutes left in regulation, was the result of persistence on the puck as his second whack at a loose puck in the crease found its way over the goal line.

He put the game out of reach with just 74 seconds left, stealing the puck at his team’s blue-line and racing the length of the ice on a breakaway to beat Spartans steady puckstopper Jordi Green with a nifty deke.

“A sigh of relief I guess because I haven’t scored all series. Might as well score in the final game,” Bennett said after the team gathered for a series of team photos at the Hodder Memorial  Recreation Complex.

Jared Bartlett, one of the most aggressive Lakers in both ends of the rink, scored the winning goal at 10:54 of the second stanza on a setup from Gould and Bennett.

Andrew Milley spoiled the shutout bid of Lakers puckstopper Moss by firing a puck through the five-hole from close range after finishing off a tic-tac-toe with Evan Zelau.

Both teams played a smothering defensive brand of hockey, but  fans certainly showed their appreciation for the physical play as cheers could be heard throughout the Hodder as the two sides traded some big hits throughout the game.

Trevor Snow of the Spartans was clearly disappointed with the outcome because he felt his side could force the series back to Stephenville for a third and deciding game.

He was pleased with the effort all hands gave in an attempt to slow  down the Lakers.

“We played phenomenal. Their goalie robbed us,” he said. “We played our defence. We played good up front. Just not enough lucky bounces our way.”

Organizations: Lakers, Stephenville High Spartans, West Coast High School Hockey Colemans Western Kings

Geographic location: Stephenville, Deer Lake

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