Doors set to open on 2012-2013 SFMAAAHL sea­son

The Southwest Booster - - SPORTS -

Satur­day, Septem­ber 29th marked the open­ing night of the seventh sea­son in the his­tory of the Saskatchew­an Fe­male Midget AAA Hockey League with games in Prince Al­bert and Melville. Eight teams will be­gin the sea­son with hopes of claim­ing the Fe­doruk Cup at the con­clu­sion of the 28 game sched­ule and three play­off rounds. Based on pre­sea­son ac­tion, a num­ber of teams looked poised to com­pete for top spot in the highly com­pet­i­tive league.

Notre Dame Hounds

Last Year’s Fin­ish – 1st, 48 Points, League Cham­pi­ons

Head Coach: Ta­mara Pickford

The Notre Dame Hounds are look­ing for a new start with the 2012-13 sea­son. The Hounds re­turn only one player from last year’s cham­pi­onship squad and they will build their team from the net out. Laura Wiebe (96) re­turns to the Hounds’ net af­ter post­ing a .948 save per­cent­age and .81 goals against av­er­age to fin­ish first in the league in both cat­e­gories. Wiebe will be joined in net by an­other vet­eran SFMAAAHL goal­tender, Sum­mer Roberts (96) who has pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence in the Saska­toon Stars net dur­ing the 2010-11 sea­son.

Up front the Hounds will look to Olivia El­lis as she moves to AAA hockey af­ter two sea­sons in the South Saskatchew­an AA league. While this may be a re­build­ing year, the Hounds are expected to field a team ca­pa­ble of com­pet­ing with the top teams in the league.

Saska­toon Stars

Last Year’s Fin­ish – 2nd, 44 Points, League Fi­nal­ists

Head Coach: Heath Tyn­dall

The Stars look to be a strong con­tender for the league cham­pi­onship af­ter two suc­ces­sive league fi­nal losses. The Stars will once again boast an offensive team that re­lies on speed and skill. 1995 for­wards Kori Herner, Kennedy Har­ris and Ha­ley Tyn­dall will an­chor the Stars of­fence. All three fin­ished in the top 20 of league scor­ing last sea­son and are sure to post strong offensive num­bers in their se­nior year. Also look to 1997 for­ward Am­ber Ren­nie who has the speed and po­ten­tial to de­velop in to a strong scor­ing threat.

De­fen­sively, the Stars will look to third year player Ha­ley Giro­lami (95) to so­lid­ify their de­fense. The Stars will have the good for­tune of play­ing in front of one of the elite goal­tenders in the league. Sa­man­tha Ridgewell (96) will be back for her sec­ond year in the Stars net to fol­low-up on her rookie cam­paign where she recorded a .925 save per­cent­age and 1.72 goals against av­er­age. The Stars de­fence will also count on rook­ies Jenna Nash (97) and Rayah DeCorby (98) to make strong con­tri­bu­tions.

Wey­burn South­ern Range Gold Wings

Last Year’s Fin­ish – 3rd , 44 Points, Lost Semi-Fi­nal to Saska­toon Head Coach: Chad Kish The Gold Wings will fea­ture a young team in com­par­i­son to past cam­paigns. A group of eight re­turnees will be expected to lead a group of rook­ies to help Wey­burn stay in the up­per ech­e­lon of the league’s 8 teams. Marissa Pir­lot (95), a sec­ond year player, will be counted on to im­prove upon her 24 point rookie sea­son and lead the Gold Wings as one of the highly skilled 1995 play­ers in the league. Key to the Gold Wings for­tunes will be 2011-12 goalie of the year, Jane Kish (96). Kish recorded a 2.06 goals against av­er­age and .930 save per­cent­age in 18 ap­pear­ances last year.

Jo­lene Kirk­patrick (95), a three year vet­eran will be expected to play a lead­ing de­fen­sive role on a team fea­tur­ing three rookie de­fend­ers. Kirk­patrick’s lead­er­ship will see her don the “C” for the Gold Wings in her fi­nal sea­son in the AAA league.

A strong crop of rook­ies will need to con­trib­ute early. Madi­son Casa­vant (97) from the North-East Fly­ers pro­gram is expected to post solid num­bers. Tessa Wil­son (96) from the Woodriver AA pro­gram will com­plete a dy­namic offensive trio with re­turnees Caitlin Dempsey (96) and Marissa Pir­lot (95). 1998 for­ward Bailee Bourassa joins the Gold Wings from the Wey­burn AA driller pro­gram. As a young, lo­cal player, Bourassa pos­sesses a strong work ethic and a deft scor­ing touch.

Regina Rebels

Last Year’s Fin­ish – 4th, 32 Points, Lost Quar­ter-Fi­nal to Prince Al­bert

Head Coach: Kim Per­peluk

If the ex­hi­bi­tion sea­son is an in­di­ca­tion of what lies ahead, the Rebels will be a force to con­tend with. The Rebels re­turn more than a solid core of 11 vet­er­ans and will be ready to im­prove on their 4th place fin­ish last year. Grad­u­at­ing for­wards Han­nah Heisler (95) and Teah An­der­son (95) will be tough to keep off the score­sheet as both fin­ished in the top 15 scor­ers last year. An­der­son was the Rebels’ lead­ing scorer last year and is po­si­tioned t1o be one of the leagues’ top for­wards in 2012-13.

Nikki Wat­ters-Matthes (95), a mem­ber of Team Saskatchew­an and the league’s top de­fense­man in 2011-12 will be part of a very strong de­fen­sive squad for the Rebels. The Rebels re­turn four start­ing de­fend­ers from last year’s team that skated to the Macs Cham­pi­onship. Goal­tend­ing also looks solid with re­turnee Rae McClin­tock expected to pro­vide lead­er­ship as a third year starter.

Rookie de­fender Leah Bolken (97), in her first year of midget el­i­gi­bil­ity is one to watch. She joins the Rebel pro­gram with the po­ten­tial to be one of the top rookie de­fend­ers in the league. Last year’s lead­ing scorer in the South Saskatchew­an AA Midget League, Kelsey Bo­hay (95) will be asked to play a key role in her first year in the AAA league.

Prince Al­bert A & W Bears

Last Year’s Fin­ish – 5th, 28 Points, Lost Semi-Fi­nal to Notre Dame

Head Coach: Wil­loughby

The Bears are also look­ing to take ad­van­tage of a suc­cess­ful pre-sea­son and move up in the league stand­ings. Key to the Bears’ suc­cess will be the offensive duo of Kelly Reg­nier (95) and Kait­lyn Wil­loughby (95). They recorded 32 and 38 points re­spec­tively in the 2011-12 cam­paign and both have po­ten­tial to bat­tle for the league scor­ing cham­pi­onship in their fi­nal sea­son of midget el­i­gi­bil­ity. They are cer­tain to make the peren­ni­ally tough Bears’ pow­er­play dif­fi­cult to de­fend.

Jeff

While the Bears’ re­turn only two de­fend­ers, they look to be solid in their own end. Goal­tender Jes­sica Vance (97) en­ters her third year in the league with a rep­u­ta­tion as strong goal­tender who has the abil­ity to make the big save and change the com­plex­ion of the game. Vance will be sup­ported by re­turn­ing de­fender Mor­gan Wil­loughby (97) as they as­sist a young but tal­ented group of rookie de­fend­ers. Keep your eye on Pay­ton Ostrom (97) and Brooke Hob­son (99) as they are two strong rook­ies that the Bears will count on.

Melville Fox FM Prairie Fire

Last Year’s Fin­ish – 6th, 21 Points, Lost Quar­ter-Fi­nal to Wey­burn

Head Coach: Kevin Kirk­wood

The Prairie Fire re­turn 12 play­ers from the 2011-12 edition that placed 6th. An­other year of ex­pe­ri­ence will bode well for a young team that looks to move up in the stand­ings. Fourth year player and team cap­tain, Bai­ley Braden (95), is expected to lead the team of­fen­sively and im­prove upon her team lead­ing 18 points from 2011-12. Sec­ond year play­ers Alana Ser­han (95) and Brook­lyn McKenna (96) will be asked to im­prove upon their suc­cess­ful rookie sea­sons and con­trib­ute on a con­sis­tent ba­sis.

Third year goalie Ni­cole Clay (95) will give Melville a strong and re­li­able pres­ence be­tween the pipes. Clay’s .932 save per­cent­age was good for sec­ond in the league last year. The Prairie Fire will have a bal­ance of re­turn­ing and rookie de­fend­ers. Re­turnee Sarah Fiske (96) will see an ex­panded role af­ter a strong rookie sea­son. Tracy Pry­byl­ski (98) and Eryn Jo­han­son (99) pos­sess ex­cel­lent skat­ing skills and will be asked to take on big roles in their rookie year.

Swift Cur­rent Di­a­mond En­ergy Wild­cats

Last Year’s Fin­ish – 7th, 13 Points, Lost Quar­ter-Fi­nal to Saska­toon Head Coach: Terry Pavely The Wild­cats re­turn a core of 10 play­ers from their 2011-12 ros­ter. Swift Cur­rent will sport a young ros­ter with eight fif­teen year-olds in the ros­ter on a nightly ba­sis. The Wild­cats should be a tena­cious team and will need to score by com­mit­tee. The power play should be vastly im­proved with the abil­ity to put out a skilled unit with heavy shots from the point. Offensive con­tri­bu­tions are expected from 17 year olds De­laine Feil (95) and Kar­rah Newkirk (95). Both have the po­ten­tial for an ex­cel­lent grad­u­at­ing year with Newkirk hop­ing to en­joy a much bet­ter sea­son in her last year of mi­nor hockey af­ter break­ing a leg dur­ing the 2011-12 pre­sea­son. Brook­lyn Haubrich (97) will pro­vide more of­fence and grit af­ter mov­ing to for­ward from de­fense last sea­son.

Re­turn­ing goal­tender Brook­lyn Weis­ger­ber (96) and 17 year old rookie Mo­riah An­drews (95) will give the Wild­cats a solid tan­dem who will be expected to lead the team and help them im­prove on their sec­ond con­sec­u­tive 7th place fin­ish.

Bat­tle­fords Sharks

Last Year’s Fin­ish – 8th, 2 Points, Lost Quar­ter-Fi­nal to Notre Dame Head Coach: Britt Pen­ner The Sharks are look­ing to im­prove on a tough 2011-12 sea­son that saw them reg­is­ter one win. Six re­turn­ing play­ers will be counted on to uti­lize their ex­pe­ri­ence in the league to achieve suc­cess. Goal­tenders Jacy Akre (95) and Rachel Mitchell (98) will have high ex­pec­ta­tions placed on them as they back­stop the Sharks be­hind a young de­fen­sive squad an­chored by grad­u­at­ing de­fend­ers Tay­lor Durocher (95) and Rachel Trach (95).

Offensive con­tri­bu­tions will be needed from sec­ond year Shark Malory Roy (96) and grad­u­at­ing for­ward Sha­nia Rhine­hart (95) who will be play­ing in her fourth SFMAAAHL cam­paign. A promis­ing core of rook­ies will need to ma­ture quickly to help the Sharks move up the stand­ings.

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