Bantam Mavericks Complete Perfect Regular Season
It was the battle between the top two teams in the league and after a closely fought game the Moose Jaw Bantam Mavericks pulled it off.
On Friday evening the Swift Current Colts were in Moose Jaw to face the local squad in a game which would give the Mavericks bragging rights to a perfect regular season but likely set the tone for the payoffs,
The Colts opened the scoring in the first minute of play as Brogan Carlson broke in alone and slid it past Maverick’s goaltender Brooke Archer at the 19:18 mark.
The play would alternate between both ends of the rink until the Colts’ Abbie Noble was assessed an interference penalty at the 11:32 mark. The Mavericks would take advantage of the power play opportunity with Nikita Halyk scoring at the 11;10 mark assisted by Sidney Ellingson and Ember DuSomme.
Shots on goal during the first period were nine for the Mavericks versus eight for the Sharks.
The second period saw Moose Jaw take the lead with Jessie Mielke scoring on wrist hand shot from the right wing after a pass across from Ashley Breitkrutz.
Moose Jaw had an opportunity to increase their lead when Paytin Copeland missed the open side of the net at the 10:10 mark.
The play swung back to the Mavericks end of the rink where at 8:14 Saidie Keller would tie it up after skating in behind the net and working it on the sharp angle managed to find the twine.
Swift Current held the momentum for the majority of the remainder of the period with Archer easily making three great saves to prevent the Colts from taking a commanding lead.
However as the period was winding down Swift Current’s Annika Kirk thwarted too stellar scoring opportunities by Paytin Copeland.
Shots on goal for the second period were 12 to nine in Swift Current’s favour.
The third period saw the Colts continue to pressure Moose Jaw and it paid off as they took the lead at the 10:03 mark when Chloe Shumaker tipped in a shot from the corner behind Kirk.
Moose Jaw however did not throw in the towel but managed to tie the game up when Halyk scored for the second time after some good work along the boards by her teammates. Assists went to Taylor Luciak and Sidney Ellingson.
The Mavericks would complete the comeback win as Luciak would score from the slot after managing to fight off a Colts’ defender and slip the puck five hole between the pads of Kirk. Assists went to Ellie Gauvin and Keana MacLachlan.
With over a minute to go there would be a time out and the Colts would pull their netminder but they failed to connect with the Mavericks icing the puck twice in long shots missing the empty goal.
The final shots on goal were 28 for the Mavericks and 27 for the Colts.
Moose Jaw head coach Stephane Gauvin said capping off the perfect regular season was a great accomplishment for the team.
Although the game would make no difference in the playoff seedings which begin next week Gauvin said given it was the two top teams in the Saskatchewan Female Hockey League’s southern division it was an anticipated matchup.
“They felt the pressure going into this game for sure but the girls responded very well,” Gauvin said.
“Swift Current is a really good team and we saw some really good hockey.”
Regarding the team’s plans for the playoffs Gauvin said they were not projecting into matchups in the second and third rounds but were concentrating on each game at hand.
“Estevan ( Bearcats) are a good team we are going to take it one game at a time because the league is really tight. You have to take it one game at a time.”
This year’s edition of the Bantam Mavericks is not as deep in the lineup as the 2017-2018 division and as such the play has changed from the wide open offensive style of last year to a more defensive style of game. The Mavericks has also had to rely upon two players from the pee wee ranks to lend a hand to complete the roster.
“This year it is strong defensive play and taking advantage of our opportunities in a time fashion.”
He also spoke about how the Mavericks had two solid goalies with Sydnee Christmann and Brooke Archer standing between the posts.
The first game of the playoffs is tentatively set for next Sunday at 1:15 pm at the Bert Hunt Arena but details still had to be worked out at press time.