Sunday, 13 March 2016

Puck luck shines Stars way

Stars forward Jordyn Gerlitz hugs overtime hero Mackenna Parker (#11).
    The Saskatoon Stars won’t complain if a break or two falls their way.
    On Sunday night at the Agriplace Arena, the Stars cashed in on a Weyburn Southern Range Gold Wings giveaway to pull out a 3-2 double overtime victory in Game 3 of a best-of-five Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League semifinal series between the two clubs.
    At the 3:58 mark of a second overtime period, a Gold Wings defender coughed the puck up to Stars forward Anna Leschyshyn. Leschyshyn got the puck to linemate Julia Rongve, who fed a beauty pass across the face of the Weyburn goal to Mackenna Parker. Parker tapped home her sixth goal of the post-season to win the contest for the defending SFMAAAHL champs.
    The victory allows the Stars to take a 2-1 lead in the series. They will try to wrap the series up in Game 4 on Tuesday in Weyburn.
    Saskatoon entered play Sunday looking to bounce back from a 1-0 double overtime setback on Friday in Weyburn. In Sunday’s encounter, the Stars came out with a lot of early pressure.
    They broke through on the scoreboard with three minutes to play in the first period, when 14-year-old forward Joelle Fiala wired a shot through a screen to the top corner of the Weyburn goal.
Stars goalie Emma Johnson robs Gold Wings forward Bailee Bourassa.
    Just 77 seconds later, Saskatoon went ahead 2-0 on what appeared to be a phantom goal. Offensive defender Willow Slobodzian fired a shot on net that disturbed the water bottle that sat on top of the Weyburn goal.
    It appeared the shot grazed the top of the bottle, but the officials said the puck went into the net after a lengthy conference discussion.
    The lead evaporated in the second period, when Weyburn forward Bailee Bourassa netted a couple of tallies late in the frame to force a 2-2 tie. Bourassa, who has committed to play for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s team next season, wired home the equalizer from the slot through a screen, while her squad was on the power play.
    Late in the third, a break went Weyburn’s way to allow the game to get to overtime. With the Stars pressing for the go-ahead goal during a net scramble around the Weyburn net, Bourassa covered the puck up with her hand in the crease to freeze play. A penalty shot should have been awarded, but the officials whistled the play dead for an offensive zone faceoff.
Mackenna Parker circles in the offensive zone for the Stars.
    In the first overtime period, Bourassa had a huge chance to win the game for the visitors, but she was robbed in close by Stars netminder Emma Johnson. Saskatoon then took the contest with Parker’s tally in the second extra session.
    Johnson made 27 stops to earn the win in goal for the Stars. Chantal Burke turned away 40 shots in another stellar effort in goal for Weyburn.
    In the other SFMAAAHL best-of-five semifinal series, the Swift Current Diamond Energy Wildcats dumped the Prince Albert A & W Bears 6-0 in Game 3 on Saturday in Swift Current. The Wildcats lead that series 2-1 with Game 4 set for Monday in Prince Albert.

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