Puck Bounces The Wrong Way In Mavericks Loss
TURTLEFORD - They say in hockey sometimes it is a lot of luck and the puck bouncing the right way at the right time and unfortunately the bounces never went their way as the Moose Jaw Bantam A Mavericks fell 3 - 0 versus the Northwest Sharks in Game Two of the Provincial Championship final.
With the win the Sharks take the best of three final in two straight games. The rebranded Sharks, who last season were called Red Wings, repeat as provincial champions defeating the Mavericks for the second year in a row.
Despite taking on the Sharks who lost only four members of last year’s provincial winning squad - due to age graduating to Midget - the Mavericks with two Pee Wee age players on their team - Ashley Breitkreuz and Jesse Mielke - managed to come out flying in the First Period dominating a good portion of the play.
The Turtleford based Sharks not only found themselves out shot 9 - 5 but were easily out chanced in the initial frame.
Mavericks goaltender Brooke Archer came up big glove save on the Shark’s Keyra Buziak who at the 16:19 mark from about 20 feet out took a strong wristhand shot heading towards the back of the twine.
About two minutes later the Mavericks strong backchecking almost paid off as Nikita Halyk stole the puck from Buziak about 12 feet outside the Sharks blue line and on the ensuing play the Mavericks had two great chances as the Sharks goaltender, Mackenzie Bloom, lost her stick during play.
The attempt to stop power forward Buziak fell apart temporarily as she skated from behind the left side of the Mavericks net to the right side where she centered the puck to Davain Scherman who was breaking towards the net and scored from about 15 feet out at the 10:56 mark.
Despite a temporary blip after the Sharks’ goal the Mavericks continued to apply pressure but were unable to score despite two strong powerplay opportunities.
The second period saw the Sharks start to take control of the game only to be kept off the scoreboard by Archer.
At the 13:43 mark Sawyer Norman shot from the mid point of the right wing circle only to have it stopped when it hit Archer in the mid chest area.
Archer continued her saving ways when she stopped Buziak with a butterfly save at the 13:25 mark and once again at the 13:21 mark Archer made a blocker save keeping Buziak off of the scoring column.
The goaltending show continued when Archer at the 5:25 mark stepped in and seemed open only to be stopped by a butterflying Archer.
With just under three minutes Archer would keep the period scoreless when she made three big stops in a volley of shots initiated by Brooklynne Francon.
Shots on goal in the second period were 15 for the Sharks and nine for the Mavericks.
The bounces went the wrong way for the Mavericks during the opening minute of the third period when the Sharks would score two unanswered goals against Archer.
The second Sharks’ goal came in the third period came when Brooklyn Fry managed to get the puck past Archer at the !9:16 mark when she was set up by Sawyer Norman.
The third goal of the game came on a high wrist hand shot by Keyra Buziak which Archer deflected with her blocker but the puck went straight up on a strange bounce about three feet and then fell across the goal line.
Despite being down by three goals the Mavericks continued to battle back when at the 14:34 mark of the third period Eowyn Stokes and Jasmine Kohl broke in and despite managing to get off a flurry of close in shots they could not break the shutout.
Archer got a bit of redemption when the ever dangerous Buziak broke in behind the Mavericks defence but was stopped at the 10:42 mark causing the rink to echo with cheers from the very loud contingent of Mavericks fans who made the five and a half hour trip to the northwest.
The Mavericks final big chance came on a slapshot by Ellie Gauvin through traffic but Bloom stopped it.
A late in the third period four minute double minor against the Sharks could not be capitalized on.
“Sometimes you get the bounces and sometimes you don’t,” is how Mavericks head coach Stephane Gauvin about the game.
“We had some really good chances and we would have been in a good spot in the game and likely taken control if the bounces had gone our way,” Gauvin said, adding “tonight we were not firing on all cylinders.”
“We applied back pressure lots and put pressure on their top girls and it paid off…we had a really good game and we really stood up when we needed to.”
Asked about the overall season he said he was “very proud of this group we had a great season and great group of girls who played well as a group.”
“We had a good group of parents.”
Regarding the use of two Pee Wee aged players - Breitkreuz and Mielke - and how they seamlessly blended into the team Gauvin said they fit well into the mix and pitched in a lot.
“They fit right in and they were great.”
Regarding this year’s playoffs versus last year’s playoffs Gauvin said it was more challenging this year and very entertaining.
“They were all tough series.”
With his daughter Ellie Gauvin finished at the Bantam age level Gauvin is non-commital about coaching next year but he is hopeful to see a return of Midget aged female hockey in Moose Jaw.
“I hope for the the health of Moose Jaw Minor Hockey…I sure hope there is,” he said about Midget aged female hockey in Moose Jaw next year.
Sharks head coach Seth Bloom agreed with Gauvin it was a game of bounces and they went the Sharks way.
“In the first period they took it to us and they outchanced us,” Bloom said, adding “they played hard to the very end and we got the bounces.”
He said a big factor in the Sharks win was their goalie who managed to stop most shots giving up big rebounds.
Asked about the change in style from the first to second period Bloom said they had made minor changes to their game plan which helped bottle the Mavericks up not allowing them to use the boards to advance the puck out of their end of the ice on numerous occasions.
“We made some tweaks at the end of the first and adjusted for the powerplay and we did a really good job covering them,” Bloom said.
He had nothing but praise for the Mavericks and the coaching they had received.
“That team is incredibly fast the fastest team we played all year..they are the best competition we had all year hands down. They are a notch up from Elrose and they are very well coached.”
Asked which of the two games the Mavericks played the best in the series Bloom thought it was the final game.
“I think they played a better game tonight and we got all of the bounces.”
Bloom said it was “fitting that the two best teams of the regular season met in the final.”
On the question of a repeat showdown next year Bloom was not sure of the possibility because the Sharks were looking at making the jump to the AA Bantam level if possible.
#1 Brooke Archer
#3 Jadyn Palaschuk
#4 Ellie Gauvin
#5 Keana Maclachlan
#6 Jasmine Kohl
# 7 Taylor Luciak
#8 Sidney Ellingson
#9 Jesse Mielke
#10 Taryn Sandbeck
#11 Ashley Breitkreuz
#12 Janelle Evans
# 15 Mattea May
#16 Ember DuSomme
#17 Paytin Copeland
#18 Eowyn Stokes
#20 Nikita Halyk
#31 Sydnee Christman
EDITORIAL NOTE - Thank you to all the players, parents, coaches and fans for saying thanks for the coverage during this year’s playoff run it is much appreciated.