Ti­tans ad­vance in league play­offs

The Southwest Booster - - SPORTS - STEVEN MAH SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

The Swift Cur­rent Bert Le­gault – Royal LePage Ti­tans got some late game hero­ics from Trista Laborowski to ad­vance to the sec­ond round of the South Saskatchew­an Fe­male Mid­get AA Hockey League play­offs.

Labarowski scored goals 22 sec­onds apart in the fi­nal 1:05 of a 5-4 win over the vis­it­ing Moose Jaw Mav­er­icks to clinch a 6-4 win in the two-game, to­tal-goals se­ries.

Moose Jaw’s Michaela Sykora had scored with 7:58 to lead the game 4-3 and tie the se­ries 4-4. Laborowski notched the se­ries win­ner with 1:05 left on the clock when she backed down a Moose Jaw de­fender, cut to her fore­hand, and then fired a puck high to the blocker side past the goal­tender. Only 22 sec­onds later, she blocked a shot and scored into an empty net to close the scor­ing.

The Ti­tans had won the open­ing game 1-0 in Moose Jaw one week ear­lier. They jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first pe­riod Wed­nes­day for a com­mand­ing three­goal lead in the se­ries but Moose Jaw scored twice in the sec­ond pe­riod to even the game and pull within one goal on the se­ries.

"Moose Jaw has been a tough team for us all year. Com­ing in we had a re­ally good first pe­riod. In the sec­ond pe­riod we prob­a­bly had seven or eight min­utes there that came back to haunt us a bit. But I thought the girls did a good job of fight­ing back, com­ing back and get­ting pucks on net and pulling off a win," said head coach Wayne Giro­dat.

Je­nessa Fournier, Labarowski, and Katey Hope all scored in the first pe­riod for the Ti­tans. Mackenzie Kirk­patrick­S­luth, Reece Giro­dat, Kalea Sauder, Au­tumn Nimegeers, Avery Wil­son, Tif­fani Em­pey, and Ja­dynn Jamieson all added as­sists.

"The girls are all play­ing good and we are prob­a­bly play­ing some of our best hockey right now that we have all year," said Giro­dat.

Sa­man­tha Le­may made 35 saves on 39 shots in the win. Le­may is one of the key vet­er­ans on a young team that fea­tures five first-year Ban­tams, one sec­ond-year Ban­tam, and only three grade 12 play­ers.

"Sam is dy­na­mite," said Giro­dat. "In my opin­ion the best goal­tender in the league. She plays her net very well. Down low she is very tough to beat and she has def­i­nitely won us some hockey games this year."

The vet­eran goal­tender was shaken up mid­way through the third pe­riod when her own de­fender fell awk­wardly on her and the Ti­tans don’t have the luxury of a backup goal­tender this sea­son.

"I guess we flip a coin and throw some goalie equip­ment on some­one if some­thing bad hap­pens. She is tough kid though and she bounces back and has been a real good player for us this year," said Giro­dat.

The fourth seeded Ti­tans (11-10-7) ad­vanced to face the first-place Este­van Charg­ers (22-5-1) in the best-of-three league semi­fi­nals. The Ti­tans were 2-1-1 against Este­van dur­ing the regular sea­son. "I like the way we match up with them,” said Giro­dat.

The Charg­ers opened the se­ries with a 3-2 win in Este­van Sun­day.

Fournier scored both goals for the Ti­tans with as­sists from Kirk­patrick­S­luth, Tenelle Lind, Jenna O’Neill, and Reece Giro­dat.

Game two of the best-ofthree se­ries will be played Fri­day in Gull Lake.

The Ti­tans are also play­ing West Cen­tral in their next round of the pro­vin­cial play­offs. Game one was played Tues­day in Dod­s­land and game two will be played tonight at Fairview West Arena at 7:15 p.m.

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