Wild­cats take four points from Rebels

The Southwest Booster - - BOOSTER SPORTS - STEVEN MAH SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

The Swift Cur­rent Di­a­mond En­ergy Wild­cats earned four of a pos­si­ble six points against the vis­it­ing Regina Rebels in Saskatchew­an Fe­male Mid­get AAA Hockey League ac­tion over the week­end.

Satur­day, the Wild­cats lost 4-3 in a shootout after fight­ing their way back from a 3-1 deficit.

The Wild­cats trailed 2-1 after one pe­riod when Regina got goals from MacKen­zie Kuffner and Chelsea Pere­peluk and Brook­lyn Haubrich replied for the Wild­cats.

Kelsey Davies stretched the Rebels' lead to 3-1 mid­way through the pe­riod be­fore Merissa Zerr replied for Swift Cur­rent on the pow­er­play as the Wild­cats fin­ished one-for-two on the man-ad­van­tage and held Regina with­out a goal on three pow­er­play op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Kayla Kir­wan tied the game up 3-3 3:56 into the third pe­riod to force over­time. Regina out­shot the Wild­cats 4-1 in over­time but nei­ther team was able to score in the five-minute ex­tra pe­riod.

Dayna Winzer, Chloe Smith, and Haubrich were all stopped in the shootout, the Wild­cats' first trip to over­time or the shootout this sea­son. Kelsey Davies scored the only goal of the shootout to clinch the ex­tra point for the vis­i­tors.

Ta­tum Shand earned the win for Regina with 24 saves on 27 shots be­fore stop­ping all three at­tempts in the shootout. Jasey Book took the shootout loss with 21 saves on 24 shots.

Keely Chalk, Kir­wan, Jessica Pele, and Zerr all added as­sists for the Wild­cats.

Sun­day, the Wild­cats had an im­proved de­fen­sive ef­fort in a 3-1 win. The game could have went ei­ther way dur­ing the open­ing 34 min­utes as both teams bat­tled for the edge. The Rebels thought they had scored on a long shot that rang off the iron with six min­utes left in the sec­ond pe­riod but the of­fi­cials ruled that it was not a goal.

Mo­ments later, Wild­cats' de­fense­man Gabrielle Gray sent her own seeing­eye point shot off the iron and in with a de­layed penalty up­com­ing. Tori Ken­dall made it 2-0 only 1:15 later when her loop­ing back­hand from the high slot found the back of the net.

The Wild­cats held the Rebels to only two shots in the third pe­riod but Delaney Frey tipped home a goal with 4:06 left in reg­u­la­tion to cut the Wild­cat's lead to 2-1.

For­ward Keely Chalk quickly re­stored the twogoal lead only 28 seconds later when she tapped home a puck that found her sur­pris­ingly open in the slot dur­ing a tight-check­ing contest.

Ken­dall, Zerr, Haubrich, Kar­lie Bell, and Smith all picked up as­sists and Book got the win with 12 saves on 13 shots.

"Yeah that is def­i­nitely what we want," said head coach Terry Pavely of Sun­day's de­fen­sive per­for­mance. "We weren't real happy, even though we got a point last night, which was a pos­i­tive, we weren't real happy with our first pe­riod. We gave up way too many scor­ing chances in the first pe­riod. We weren't do­ing a good job of ty­ing up sticks in front of the net. The video that we showed be­fore the game to­day just re­in­forced what we had said as coaches. To­day, give our girls credit, we showed the video and we were ex­cep­tional in that re­gard to­day. They are a team that has some of­fen­sive kids and they like to sneak in be­hind you in the slot. We did a very good job of tak­ing that away and not giv­ing them those op­por­tu­ni­ties to­day."

"We all worked re­ally hard and were go­ing to the net and the D were def­i­nitely shoot­ing and we were all driv­ing," said Ken­dall after the win.

She was happy with the team's de­fen­sive ef­fort to hold the Rebels to only 13 shots on goal.

"Our D were def­i­nitely get­ting it off the glass real well. Our wingers were driv­ing to get that puck through the D and our cen­tres were go­ing through the mid­dle to get the puck."

The Wild­cats only al­lowed two shots on goal in the third pe­riod as they locked down the win Sun­day.

"That's the way we want to play," said Pavely." If you look at the last two years and even the start of this year, we are a good de­fen­sive team. I think we have got­ten away from that a lit­tle bit. For us to be suc­cess­ful, there is two things. We have to score three goals, that is kind of the magic num­ber for us. But when we play that way de­fen­sively, es­pe­cially when you have Booker in net, you are not go­ing to give up goals.

"I was just re­ally happy that we stepped up de­fen­sively. When we play like that we have a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties to win hockey games," he added.

The Wild­cats scored both sec­ond-pe­riod goals by throw­ing pucks on goal with traf­fic in front.

"Yeah and that is how we scored last night. Our goal in the first pe­riod, Haubrich got the goal inside the blue line and threw it to the net. When we crash the net we have some good size up front. You get in front of the net and it makes it dif­fi­cult for goal­tenders," noted Pavely.

"I felt that to­day was what makes us suc­cess­ful. We are not go­ing to wow you with two kids that can just score almost at will. We need to score almost by com­mit­tee and we need to score by get­ting to the tough ar­eas," he added.

The Wild­cats were short on the blue­line due to in­jury so they played with only four de­fense­men on Satur­day and Pavely said the team moved the puck well in their own end and made qual­ity first passes.

"We felt that go­ing four D last night was go­ing to be a lot to ask to go four D tonight," he said.

They switched cap­tain Brook­lyn Haubrich back to de­fense for Sun­day's game and the move paid off. Haubrich fin­ished the week tied for fourth in league scor­ing with 15 points in 16 games.

"She is one of those kids that plays ag­gres­sive, she cre­ates things and gets us go­ing. When you put her on the back end she han­dles the puck well. She thinks the game well and she adds the com­po­sure fac­tor. Re­gard­less of where we play here, de­pend­ing on our needs, she is go­ing to be an as­set at ei­ther end of the rink," ex­plained Pavely.

Ken­dall said it was a big win after los­ing in the shootout Satur­day.

"It re­ally got the mo­men­tum go­ing and hope­fully we can keep it go­ing the next few games and through­out the sea­son," said Ken­dall.

The Wild­cats fin­ished the week­end in sec­ond spot in the stand­ings with a 9-60-1 record.

The Wild­cats only have two league games in the month of De­cem­ber, be­gin­ning Fri­day with a re­turn visit to Regina to face the Rebels (3-5-2-2) to con­clude the sea­son se­ries.

The Wild­cats will also host the Notre Hounds (210-0-1) on Sun­day at 1:15 p.m. at Fairview West Arena. The Wild­cats de­feated the Hounds 2-0 on Nov. 4 in their only pre­vi­ous league meet­ing this sea­son.

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