Thursday, 24 March 2016

Power play powers Stars

Saskatoon takes control of SFMAAAHL title series with win

The Stars celebrate a power-play goal scored by Willow Slobodzian.
    Laser beam shots courtesy of Anna Leschyshyn and Willow Slobodzian proved to be all the Saskatoon Stars needed.
    The two standouts from Saskatoon each fired home rockets on the power play to deliver the Stars to a 2-1 victory over the Swift Current Diamond Energy Wildcats in Game 3 of the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League championship series on Thursday at the Agriplace Arena. The win allows the Stars to take a 2-1 edge in the best-of-five set, and they will try to capture a second straight league title in Game 4 on Saturday when the series shifts back to Swift Current (7:45 p.m., Fairview Arena).
    On Wednesday, the Stars claimed Game 2 of the series in Swift Current at the Fairview Arena, when skilled forward Mackenna Parker netted the game’s only goal in the third period in a 1-0 final. Stars goaltender Emma Johnson made 18 saves to pick up her seventh career SFMAAAHL playoff shutout.  Jasey Book, who was named the SFMAAAHL’s most valuable player and top goaltender, turned away 27 shots taking the loss in goal for Swift Current.
    On Thursday in Saskatoon, the Stars stormed out of the gate and had the Wildcats pinned in their zone. Working on the power play, defender Hollie Coumont and forward Julia Rongve teamed up to get the puck over to Leschyshyn, who wired home a shot from the front of the goal near the top of the two faceoff circles at the 8:37 mark of the opening frame.
Wildcats goalie Jasey Book stops Stars forward Mackenna Parker.
    The 14-year-old’s tally was the Stars eighth shot on goal of the game, and the hosts held an 8-1 edge in shots on goal at that point in the contest.
    From that moment, Book, who has committee to join the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s team, went to work to try and prevent the Stars from getting any further ahead in what was a fast-paced affair. In the second period, she made two in close saves on Grace Shirley, who is the SFMAAAHL’s rookie of the year, and Parker respectively.
    Saskatoon finally got a key insurance goal at the 11:53 mark of the third period, when Slobodzian, who was named the SFMAAAHL’s top defender, fired home a power-play goal through a screen to the top corner of the Swift Current net to give the hosts a 2-0 edge.
    The Wildcats, who were backed by a huge and raucous fan following that made the trip to Saskatoon, proceeded to mount a big push back, which caused Johnson to make a few critical saves. Swift Current final broke through with 57.1 seconds to play in the third, when 17-year-old forward Kaci Jones potted her fourth goal of the post-season cut the Stars lead to 2-1.
    Saskatoon proceeded to close the contest out defensively, as the Wildcats didn’t have any solid scoring chances after their goal.
    Johnson made 20 saves to earn the win in goal for Saskatoon. Book made 27 stops to take the loss in Swift Current’s net.
    If the Wildcats win on Saturday to force a series deciding Game 5, it will be held Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Agriplace Arena.
Willow Slobodzian was named the SFMAAAHL's top defender.
    NOTES – Stars head coach Greg Slobodzian was named the SFMAAAHL’s coach of the year, when the league handed out its awards. Stars captain Danielle Nogier won the award for being the SFMAAAHL’s top scholastic player. Her older brother Nelson, who currently plays for the Red Deer Rebels, was the WHL’s scholastic player of the year in 2014, when he was still a member of the Saskatoon Blades.
    Willow Slobodzian was a first team SFMAAAHL all-star on defence, while Shirley and Parker were first team all-stars at forward.
    Book was a first team all-star, while Wildcats defender and captain Kayla Kirwan and forward Chloe Smith were second team all-stars.

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