Coming off a rough weekend sweep at the hands of the Prince Albert Northern Bears, the Diamond Energy Female Midget AAA Wildcats were back on home ice hosting the Notre Dame Hounds.
Hungry to get back in the win column with a complete effort, the Wildcats essentially did just that, earning a 3-2 victory over the visiting Hounds.
Swift Current fell behind early, however, as the Hounds scored nine minutes in on a 5-on-3, then even-strength with 2:37 left in the first, for a 2-0 mark through 20.
“We were down 2-0, but we weren’t that concerned, because we liked the way we played probably for 17 or 18 minutes of that first period,” said Wildcats head coach Terry Pavely. “When you play like that, you have a chance to succeed.”
It didn’t take long for Swift to tie the game up, following a fairly simple formula – out-chance the other team, with some help from the organization’s all-time leading scorer.
Two nearly identical goals came off the stick of captain Taylor Lind, as she ripped a pair of shots from the right dot. The goals came 1:17 and 3:24 into the second period, and off feeds from Maddy McCleary/Ryleigh White, and Kenedee Klevgaard/McCleary respectively.
The two teams were knotted up at two apiece for the remainder of the second, and nearly nine minutes of the third.
A point-shot from White with 11:09 left in the game proved to be the difference, as the puck found its way through a heavy screen, and past Hounds goalie Kaitlyn Ross for the eventual game-winner. Forwards Carissa Hogan and Brynne Doerksen picked up assists on the play.
The Hounds pulled Ross with 1:05 left for the extra attacker, and proceeded to hold the puck in Swift’s end for that stretch. However, with Pavely wanting to see more blocked shots in the D zone after last weekend, his team did just that to keep the puck out of the net.
“Pucks were hitting bodies, hitting sticks, our goalie made a couple good blocker saves, but we did a good job of collapsing down to the front of the net,” said the Wildcats bench boss. “When you get down and you really have bodies in front, it’s hard for pucks to get through. For the most part, most of their shots were from the perimeter, and what I liked was we tied up sticks in the slot. We didn’t give them any second opportunities when they had their goalie pulled.”
Swift Current ended the game out-shooting the Hounds 29-22, including a third period where Notre Dame managed just four shots to the Wildcats’ ten.
“If you went by scoring chances, it probably wasn’t a 3-2 game – we probably out-chanced them, high-quality ones, 10 or 12 to four,” noted Pavely. All their chances really came in the last minute-and-a-half, in the last two periods. I thought the last two periods the work ethic was where it needed to be, and that’s something we can continue to work on and be more consistent.”
Amaya Giraudier made 20 saves for the win, as the Wildcats have now won two-straight at Fairview West.
Swift now sits at 4-6-0-1, while the Hounds drop to 2-6-0-2 on the season.
The two teams don’t have to wait long for the rematch, as the Wildcats are on the road in Wilcox taking on Notre Dame Sunday afternoon.
The game-plan shouldn’t be expected to change much for the Wildcats, who had a pile of odd-man rushes, solo breakaways, and shots from prime scoring areas. Despite going 0-for-2 on the PP, Pavely isn’t too worried about tweaking the powerplay unit ahead of the rematch.
“You’re going to lose games when you have good chances – if you’re not getting the chances, that’s when you’re in deep trouble. We had the chances today, we just needed to bury them. Our powerplay was pretty darn good today, and it didn’t score a goal. We moved it around, we had chances, we were in the zone for about 1:50 on both powerplays we had. We’ve got to build off those things and hopefully play like that tomorrow.”
Catch all the action live on The Eagle 94.1 for Diamond Energy Wildcats Hockey, brought to you by SWT.
Puck drop is set for 4:30 p.m. in Wilcox, with pregame at 4:15.