Moose Jaw Bantam A Mavericks Lose in Heartbreaking Provincial Final.
The Moose Jaw Bantam A Mavericks were in tough on Friday night, and despite a strong effort fell just short of winning the provincial championships, falling 5-4 in overtime to the Midwest Red Wings in the final game of the best of three series.
The Mavericks, with the best record of any hockey team in the City faced the powerhouse Turtleford based Redwings who sported a perfect 18 -.0 - 0 regular season record with 137 goals for versus 17 against.
As expected, the Redwings came out skating fast and aggressive in the first period. The hustle paid off with a goal at 18:28 by Lana Duriez, assisted by Ava Cole and Mia Tough.
The Redwings continued their aggressive play and almost went up 2-0 at the 18:08 mark when a shot by Duriez from the top of the right wing face off circle just missed the open net.
A few minutes later, in a rush, two Mavericks would collide and fall near center ice but Keanna MacLachlan would split the defense beating Redwings goalie Shaye Thompson with a low shot on the glove side to even the score at one goal apiece.
The Redwings continued their aggressive style as Kiana McNinch used her speed to almost split the Mavericks defense at the 11:06 mark.
McNinch would again come close to scoring when she picked up a loose puck in the Mavericks' zone at the 8:36 mark, only to be denied with a great save by Sydnee Christman.
McNinch would eventually manage to split the Mavericks defense and despite beating Christmann, she ended up ringing a wicked wrist hand off of the crossbar.
The Mavericks would force back at the 4:06 mark, when a Mattea May shot through traffic was stopped by Thompson.
While on the penalty kill Duriez would hustle on a clearing shot and by aggressively forechecking almost score at the 2:23 mark on the wraparound attempt.
The Redwings would score their second goal at the 1:39 mark when a shot from the left wing circle by Sawyer Norman would bounce just before Christmann and just get through her pads and trickle into the net. The goal was assisted by Keyra Buziak.
Shots on goal were 7-1 in the Redwings favour in the 1st Period.
The 2nd period would see the Mavericks come out more aggressively and take the play to the Redwings.
The Mavericks would have four great opportunities to even the score within the first five minutes of the 2nd Period.
At the 19:00 minute mark Taylor Luciak would almost tie it up with Thompson down.
The Mavericks applied the pressure and the Redwings would be assessed a bench minor for too many players on the ice.
With the Mavericks on the power play, Keara Merriman would take a wristhand shot, beating the sprawled Thompson. The goal was assisted by Sidney Ellingson and Kaitlyn Gilroy.
The Redwings would again take a one goal lead when the Mavericks failed to clear the puck after a shot and the puck ended up on Duriez's stick who scored; assisted were from Buziak and Thea Cheyne.
At the 2:51 mark, Kaitlyn Gilroy would take a shot from in close which seemingly had Thompson beat, but somehow she managed to reach back with her blocker and stop the puck right on the goal line.
At 2:28 the Mavericks had another stellar opportunity as Sydney Ellingson had an open side of the net but could not find the twine in a scramble around the Redwings net.
Shots on goal in the 2nd Period were 13 - 7 in the Mavericks favour.
The 3rd Period would see the Mavericks once again grabbing the momentum and almost scoring on a scramble in front of the Turtleford net with another save on the goal line.
The Mavericks Gilroy skating down the right wing boards was body checked by the Redwings' Tough, once again igniting the powerplay at 17:45.
Less than a minute later, Merriman,
on a break in the Redwings' end would attempt a centering pass which was fanned on by the intended recipient but a trailing Makayla Anderson would score on the powerplay to tie the game.
At the 13:35 mark Gilroy took a wristhand shot which seemed like a sure goal, only to be robbed with a glove save by Thompson.
The Mavericks kept up the pressure and at 12:16 Ember DuSomme took a shot from the slot but once again it was stopped.
At 11:10, an in close scramble led to another goal line save by Thompson.
The Mavericks were finally able to grab the lead though when Tia Miller took a long wristhand shot through traffic at the 10:13 mark, which the Redwings goalie never saw, assist to Mattea May.
But the Redwings would respond when McNinch would stickhandle her way in deep from the right wing passing across to Mykayla Pylpow on the left wing who would score into an empty side of the net at 8:22 to tie the game.
The lone Maverick penalty happened at 3:49 but the Mavericks fought it off with Christmann making a great sprawling save on Devrie Bloom.
Shots on goal for the period were 10-9 in favour of the Mavericks.
In the overtime, McNinch would once again bring the puck in and send it over to Pylpow who scored at 9:06.
Redwings won the provincial Bantam A championship 5-4.
Despite the loss, Mavericks Head Coach Stephan Gauvin said he was proud of the team's effort.
"I'm really proud of our girls; as coaches you can't ask for anything more," Gauvin said.
Asked about the game, he said either team could have won but it was great for the fans who came out.
"We had our opportunities and so did they. It was a very entertaining game. It would have been great to sit in the stands and watch it. I am sure the people here enjoyed it," he said. "They are probably the toughest team we have faced all year. We played hard all three games. We gave them a run for their money."
Despite the disappointing loss, which came down to a single goal Gauvin said he found a silver lining from the season.
"I'm most proud of how they get along so well and the philosophy is to keep these girls in hockey. That is really is what it is all about...they get along really well and its great to see some success."
About next year's prospects, Gauvin said they look good.
"We have a good corps of girls and always hope everyone will come back next year.. We have some players coming up from Pee Wee"
Redwing's coach Michael McNinch said the series was hard fought and could have gone either way given the Mavericks powerplay.
"They have such a good power play and a couple of penalties really hurt us," McNinch said.
"You try never to think about that when they got that go ahead goal but it all turned out in our favour,"
"For our team this is huge, many of these girls have played together for a long time and it is really special," he said.
Asked how much winning a provincial championship would mean to the small communities he said "lots."
Although playing out of Turtleford, the Redwings draw players from the region in such communities as Paradise Hill, Livelong, Glaslyn, Mervin and the Battlefords area.
Maverick's coach Gauvin has just finished coaching his 11th season and two at the Bantam A level. He intends to apply to coach again if Moose Jaw Minor Hockey Association will accept his application.