Prairie Fire holds Saskatoon back with weekend split
|Kianna Dietz (#12) gets set to fire a shot on goal for the Stars.|
It appears the Saskatoon Stars won’t be able to run away with top spot in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League this season, because a couple of the circuits other powerhouse clubs won’t let them.
This past weekend, the Stars split a pair of games with the visiting Melville Prairie Fire at the Agriplace Arena, and the Prairie Fire came into the series with aspirations of leaping over the Stars into first in the SFMAAAHL.
Saskatoon came away with a 4-0 win on Saturday, but the Prairie Fire rebounded with a 3-2 victory on Sunday.
The split allowed the Stars to hold on to first with an 11-2-1 record with 34 points in the standings. The Prince Albert Northern Bears jumped into second place improving to 12-2 with 33 points in the standings after a pair of road wins against the Battlefords Sharks.
|Players from the Stars and Prairie Fire battle for the puck.|
Prince Albert trails Saskatoon due to the fact three of its wins came in extra time. In the SFMAAAHL, you get three points in the standings for a regulation win and two points for an extra time win.
The Prairie Fire sits third with an 11-4 mark with 32 points in the standings coming from 10 regulation wins and one extra time win.
Saskatoon and Prince Albert have regularly battled it out at the top of the SFMAAAHL standings over the previous two seasons. Melville has been a surprise club having finished sixth overall last season in the eight-team circuit with a 9-17-2 record.
|Julia Rongve zips into the offensive zone for the Stars.|
Out of Saskatoon’s three losses, two have come at home to Prince Albert in October and the third came Sunday against Melville.
In Saturday’s clash between the Stars and Prairie Fire, Saskatoon jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first with goals coming off the sticks of Joelle Fiala and Grace Shirley. Julia Rongve and Abby Shirley each added a power-play goal in the third to close out a 4-0 victory.
Jordan Ivanco made 26 saves to earn the shutout win in goal for the Stars. Ashlyn Taillon turned away 22 shots taking the loss in the Prairie Fire goal.
In Sunday’s contest, the Stars came out flying the first period outshooting the Prairie Fire 16-6, but only held a 1-0 edge on the scoreboard thanks to a single from Fiala.
The Prairie Fire found some traction thanks to a goal from Megan Leblanc that tied the contest up at 1-1 just 34 seconds into the second period.
Just 50 seconds after that goal, the Stars appeared to recapture the momentum going ahead 2-1 on a goal from Grace Shirley.
Prairie Fire captain Georgia Kotylak ensured the Stars joy was short-lived as she scored 84 seconds after that tally to force a 2-2 tie.
|The Prairie Fire celebrate their 3-2 win over the Stars.|
At the 4:47 mark of the third, 15-year-old forward Heather Fiske netted what turned out to be the winning goal in a 3-2 victory.
Arden Kliewer made 19 saves to take the loss in goal for the Stars. Taillon stopped 31 shots to pick up the win in Melville’s goal.
After falling behind, the Stars had chances to pull even including a beauty wraparound attempt by offensive defender Willow Slobodzian. For the most part, the Prairie Fire did a good job closing out the game, which included limiting Saskatoon’s golden scoring opportunities.
The Stars now head into another showdown for first place when they travel to Prince Albert on Wednesday, Dec. 14 to face the Bears.
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