A Prince Albert native is a national champion.
Defenceman Cody Lehner captained the Notre Dame Hounds to a Midget AAA national championship – the Telus Cup – Sunday evening in Sudbury, Ont.
Lehner and the Hounds defeated the Cantonniers De Magog, of Quebec, 5-1 in the four-team tournament final game; his teammate Luke Mylymok led the game’s scoring, potting a hat trick en route to the national title.
It’s the first time in eight years the Hounds have played for a national championship.
“It’s been a whirlwind. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I’m sure it will in the next few days here,” he said on Tuesday afternoon, fresh off the team’s return home to Wilcox, Sask., 12 hours prior.
“The energy here at the school is pretty big. We got back today at 2:00 in in the morning, and half the rink was full with classmates waiting to congratulate us,” an excited Lehner said.
He spoke highly of his teammates, underscoring how he’ll cherish winning the national championship with his “brothers and friends.”
For the Sunday night game, Notre Dame took the early lead and didn’t really look back.
Early in the second period, Mylymok put his side up 2-0, and that was enough for the win; after 40 minutes of play, Notre Dame was up 4-0 on the Quebec squad.
With 2:16 remaining in the game, Mylymok iced the CAntonniers with his third goal of the game – an empty-netter.
Looking back on the tournament, Lehner said the semifinal game his team played against the Toronto Young Nationals was a key turning point for him, confirming his belief that the Hounds would win this year’s title.
“We were down 2-1 with about 10 minutes to go in the game, and we managed to tie it up. Then Luke scored the go-ahead goal.”
He also commended the Prince Albert Mintos for a hard-fought, tough provincial Midget AAA final series in forcing Notre Dame to deal with adversity. “Those last two games were really close, and we only beat them by one goal,” he said.
The Hounds captain also emphasized the support that he and his teammates have had from the Notre Dame community; he won the title in his Grade 12 year at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame.
“I’ve probably said it before, but at this school, we’re a family. It feels great to win it with everyone here.”