Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Stars romp to final four

The Saskatoon Stars were all smiles after their playoff win on Wednesday.
    Quietly, the Saskatoon Stars have to be glad they’ve seen the last of the Battlefords Sharks this season.
    On Wednesday night at the Agriplace Arena, the Stars bombed the Sharks 12-0 to sweep a best-of-five Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League quarter-final series 3-0 between the two clubs. The series was a mismatch on paper and played out that way on the ice. The Stars topped the SFMAAAHL’s regular season standings with a 24-4 mark, while the Sharks finished last in the eight-team circuit with a 3-23-3 record.
    During the three-game series, the Stars outscored the Sharks 28-3. Those two squads also faced each other in their final two regular season games, which meant Wednesday’s game was a fifth straight head-to-head meeting. Overall, the Stars took all seven of their games with the Sharks including action in the regular season and playoffs.
    In the final tilt between the two teams on Wednesday, the Stars led 4-0 after the first period and 9-0 after the second. The defending SFMAAAHL champs also held a 72-13 edge in shots on goal.
    Abby Shirley and Grace Shirley both scored twice and each had a pair of assists for the Stars. Mackenna Parker, Brooke Hausermann, Joelle Fiala, Danielle Nogier, Kalista Senger, Anna Leschyshyn, Julia Rongve and Rayah DeCorby all netted singles for Saskatoon. Emma Johnson made 13 saves to earn the shutout in goal.
Grace Shirley had two goals and two assists for the Stars on Wednesday.
    Shelby Tornato took the loss in goal for the Sharks stopping 45 of 55 shots fired her way. Chloe Marshall turned aside 15 of 17 shots sent her way entering the game in relief early in the third period.
    The Stars road towards making a return trip to the Esso Cup national championship tournament becomes a lot tougher from here on out. The two SFMAAAHL best-of-five semifinal series are expected to be highly competitive.
    Saskatoon has home ice advantage throughout the SFMAAAHL playoffs. The Stars will face either the Weyburn Gold Wings, who host the Esso Cup from April 17-23, or Melville Prairie Fire in the semifinal round. The Gold Wings posted an 18-9-1 mark in the regular season, while the Prairie Fire were 9-17-2.
    Melville trails a best-of-five quarter-final series 2-1 to the Prince Albert A & W Bears, who made last year’s SFMAAAHL final. The Prince Albert series with Melville is the only SFMAAAHL quarter-final series that is still going.
    The Swift Current Diamond Energy Wildcats will have home ice advantage for the other best-of-five SFMAAAHL semifinal series.

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