After an unbeaten start to the 2019 half of the regular season schedule, the Diamond Energy Wildcats had their winning streak snapped at eight games Saturday at the Innovation Credit Union iPlex.
Swift Current was upended 5-2 by the visiting Melville Prairie Fire, as part of the Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada festivities.
The Wildcats just couldn't find their usual jump in the game, allowing the Prairie Fire to jump out to a 2-0 lead after the first.
Melville then scored one in the second to take a three-goal lead into the second intermission, as Swift Current couldn't piece together a push in the middle frame.
"Second period we had two scoring chances," said head coach Terry Pavely. "You can't win hockey games getting two chances. You need to be almost perfect then."
During the Wildcats' win streak, however, late pushes had been executed and successful, certainly leaving the door open for a potential comeback.
"We talked after the second that if we play the right way, we could maybe come back, because we've been good at coming from behind," said Pavely. "But, when you give up two goals in the first two minutes of the third period, that really sealed the deal."
The two quick goals from the Prairie Fire spelled a 5-0 lead, and sparked a change in net.
Swift Current was able to chip into that deficit with the push they expected, though goals from Sara Kendall and Kenedee Klevgaard were the only offence the Wildcats would muster.
"We got what we deserved 100 percent," said a frustrated Pavely. "The disappointing thing is we had a chance going into today of getting second place, and now we can't - that's the reality. We're playing a team well below us in the standings. It's frustrating that at this time of the year we're learning lessons still."
The Wildcats out-shot the Prairie Fire 30-25 in the game, but it was just a collective effort that Pavely says fell somewhat uncomfortably short of their standard.
"We kind of get caught in the same rut. When we lose games, 90 percent of the time it's because we don't work hard," he explained. "They out-skated us, they out-worked us, they won all the battles for loose pucks. Then, when you don't work hard, you don't execute. They broke out of their zone like there was no forecheck. Then when we turned pucks over, we didn't work hard to get them back."
"We'd won eight in a row going into this point, and you'd hope that we'd have a little bit more passion and desire to keep our streak going - unfortunately we didn't today," Pavely added.
The Wildcats now sit in fourth place in the league, five points back of Prince Albert with one game in hand.
"We've got to be better. We HAVE to be better tomorrow."
Sunday's rematch takes place over at the usual confines of Fairview West at 1:15 p.m.