Saturday, 26 January 2019

Sperling cashes in on big opportunity with Stars

Veteran defender nets winning goal in clash with Rebels

Chace Sperling had the winning goal for the Stars on Saturday.
    Chace Sperling wasn’t going to let a golden opportunity pass her by.
    On Saturday afternoon at Merlis Belsher Place, Sperling’s Saskatoon Stars found themselves in a 2-2 tie early in the third period with the Regina Rebels in a regular season battle between the two top teams in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League.
    The Stars entered the third period holding a 2-1 advantage and were on the power play. Shortly after their power play expired, Rebels 16-year-old forward Tavia Terry scored the equalizer to tie things up at 2-2 just 48 seconds into the third.
    Just 44 seconds after that goal, Sperling came through with the turning point play for her squad.
    With a maze of bodies in front of Rebels netminder Chantel Weller, the puck squirted out to Sperling at the right side boards in the Regina zone. The veteran defender, who turned 17-years-old earlier this month, quickly fired home a shot to put the Stars in front 3-2.
The Stars mob Chace Sperling after she scores in the third period.
    That tally stood up as the winner as the Stars added one more goal in the frame coming on a power play from star winger Anna Leschyshyn to claim a 4-2 victory. Leschyshyn’s insurance goal was her second tally of the contest.
    At game’s end, Sperling was pumped she could help her squad in a big moment.
    “I just shot it because the whole net was open,” said Sperling. “I hoped for the best and hoped it went in, and it did.
    “It was good to get the momentum back and get back into the game and get a lead, so that we weren’t in a slump. We would have lost momentum maybe if we didn’t score right off the hop after they scored. We got like more momentum back, and then we finished them off and won the game.”
Tavia Terry (#12) celebrates scoring for the Rebels.
    The win allowed the Stars to improve their first place record to 21-1. The Rebels saw their four game winning streak come to an end, but they remained second in the SFMAAAHL with a 16-5-2 mark.
    Saskatoon had been off since falling to the Rebels in Regina 3-2 on Jan. 13. Stars head coach Greg Slobodzian said Sperling’s goal was key in allow his club to get back on track.
    “It was huge, because a few girls got frustrated,” said Slobodzian. “We just came off the power play.
    “With us, it is all about momentum. Obviously, we had lost some momentum a little bit. I was trying to pick them up on the bench.
Hanna Bailey had the Rebels first goal on Saturday.
    “All of a sudden, Chace’s head was up, saw the open net and put it in. I didn’t have to do much coaching after that. The girls were just like, “Yeah. We’ve got this.””
    The Stars came out controlling the early momentum of the first period. They broke through on the scoreboard, when Leschyshyn wrapped home her first tally of the contest at the 7:33 mark of the opening frame.
    Saskatoon was holding a 7-3 edge in shots on goal at the time of Leschyshyn’s goal.
    The Rebels pushed back taking over for the rest of the first period. With 83 seconds remaining in the frame and working on a power play, 16-year-old power forward Hanna Bailey took break out pass from defender Larissa Bohlken, drove into the Saskatoon zone, cut to the front of the net and drove home the equalizer to tie things up at 1-1.
    Regina held a 13-8 edge in shots on goal at the end of the first period.
    The Stars regained the lead at the 7:05 mark of the second period.
Anna Leschyshyn (#7) scored twice for the Stars on Saturday.
    Working close in front of the Regina net, Stars star forward Kaitlin Jockims slipped a smart pass to linemate Halle Helperl to the left side of the Rebels goal.
    Helperl tapped the puck into a wide open cage to give the host side a 2-1 advantage.
    That set the stage for the dramatics in the third period.
    Arden Kliewer turned away 24 shots in goal for the Stars. Weller stopped 25 shots in goal for the Rebels.
    Slobodzian was pleased his squad came out with a strong effort after falling to the Rebels back on Jan. 13.
    “It doesn’t matter how much you talk about it you have to lose to appreciate winning,” said Slobodzian. “I really believe that.
The Stars celebrate their victory over the Rebels on Saturday.
    “I didn’t want to be the team that we played against today, because I knew we were going to come out hard and execute the way we wanted to. It just goes to show you how strong that Regina club is. They were in there the whole game.”
    The two clubs go at it again on Sunday at 12:45 p.m. at Merlis Belsher Place. The Stars will lock up first place in the SFMAAAHL with a win. 
    Slobodzian expects his side to be involved in another intense game.
    “I expect much the same if not more actually,” said Slobodzian. “I know that is a real proud team over there, and they don’t like to lose.
    “When we are playing well, we put up a good fight, and it doesn’t matter who we are playing against. It will be a good battle.”

Wildcats’ Lind hits second on SFMAAAHL’s all-time scoring list

Taylor Lind is the SFMAAAHL’s second all-time top scorer.
    Swift Current Diamond Energy Wildcats star captain Taylor Lind achieved her biggest personal milestone to date on Saturday.
    Lind scored twice to help her Wildcats down the host Weyburn Richardson Pioneer Gold Wings 7-2 at Crescent Point Place in Weyburn. With those two tallies, Lind leaped ahead of former Saskatoon Stars captain Mackenna Parker for second on the SFMAAAHL’s all-time career regular season points list.
    In 78 career regular season games, Lind has 85 goals and 74 assists for 159 points.
Parker played in 104 career regular season games for the Stars from 2014 to 2018 piling up 82 goals and 76 assists for 158 points. She currently plays for the Boston University Terriers women’s hockey team in the NCAA ranks.
    Moose Jaw product Olivia Howe is the SFMAAAHL’s all-time leader scorer in career regular season play piling up 107 goals and 100 assists for 207 points appearing in 106 games with the Notre Dame Hounds from 2008 to 2012.
    In Saturday’s game, the Gold Wings took a 2-0 lead in their clash with the Wildcats receiving goals off the sticks of Kira Barham and Payton Mabee.
Taylor Lind scored twice for the Wildcats on Saturday.
    The Wildcats tied things up at 2-2 heading into the first intermission, scored four times in the second period to go ahead 6-2 and cruised to victory from that point. Swift Current has won seven games in a row.
    Defender Tobi Fontaine scored twice for the Wildcats, while Crystal Wale, Ryleigh White and Brooklyn Rublee had singles.
    Amaya Giraudier made 14 saves to pick up the win in goal for the Wildcats (13-9-1). Amara Lewendon turned away 42 shots to take the setback in net for the Gold Wings (1-20-1).
    The two sides go at it again on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Crescent Point Place in Weyburn.

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