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Season 11 Review: Marauders are GHL Champions!
In an unforeseeable postseason run, the Marauders defeated the West Chicago Protons in the finals to win their first GHL Cup, the first winners in 7 years outside West Chicago or Deadwood in Game World Biscuit. The team's shocking victory was largely due to the unbelievable performance of the team's 25-year-old goalie Jeffrey Hanrahan, who not only had a .946 save percentage in the playoffs but also shut out the Protons 2-0 in the final game of the series, rewarding management's 7-year commitment with a Conn Smythe-worthy performance.
The entire team also demonstrated impressive resilience as a whole. Whether it was losing their first-line centre in the first round, management selling at the trade deadline, or getting demolished 6-1 in the first game of the semifinals, the team found a way to win. This was best personified by the team's young players- from rookie winger Anton Franc stepping into the Top 9 as a centre to rookie defenseman Bedrich Sepeši playing over 20 minutes a night, they demonstrated an impressive ability to persevere through adversity and doubt.
Also of note were 34-year-old veteran defenseman Richard Fahy, who averaged over 23 minutes and a half per game in the playoffs, centre Andrew Larocque, 25, who filled in on the top line and made up for a lackluster regular season by scoring 8 points in 8 playoff games, and sophomore defender Sone Friedel, who scored the biggest goal of his life to give the Marauders a 3-2 overtime victory and the series lead in the finals. It was fitting that winger Bjarne Lunde was not only the first player to receive the cup as the team's captain but also scored the game-winning goal to clinch the championship. Since being drafted 3rd overall four seasons ago, the 21-year-old Norwegian has struggled to adapt as seamlessly to the GHL as some of his peers until finally breaking out this year with 18 goals in the regular season and averaging over a point a game in the playoffs.
Although the Marauders won the championship, there remains much to be done. With 3 first-rounders in the upcoming draft, management remains busy working to build a sustainable championship-caliber team.