Titans advance in league playoffs
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.