The Swift Current Diamond Energy Wildcats concluded the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League regular season with two home games against the Battlefords Stars over the weekend when they missed a chance to enter the playoffs on a positive note.
Saturday, the Wildcats squandered a 5-1 lead, but recovered for a 6-5 win in overtime when Janessa Fournier scored with 1:36 remaining in the extra period.
Taylor Lind led the Wildcats with three goals and two assists, followed by a goal and three assists from Chloe Smith, and two goals from Fournier.
Tenelle Lind, Mikayla Swallow, Shelby Ballan, and Autumn Nimegeers all added assists. Harper Davey got the win with 27 saves. Chantel Weller made 42 saves on 48 shots for the Stars.
Sunday, the Wildcats allowed a power play goal in overtime in a 3-2 loss to conclude the regular season.
“Terrible! We’re terrible,” said head coach Terry Pavely after Sunday’s overtime loss. “When we don’t compete we’re terrible. We let bad teams beat us over and over again. They work harder. They deserved to win. They deserved to win last night. They deserved to win today, because they work a lot harder than we do. That’s the bottom line is that teams that work hard win hockey games. Teams that play lazy, we play like we are a first place team and we’re gonna score eight [goals] a game. You don’t work hard defensively you don’t win, that’s the bottom line.”
The Wildcats top line accounted for all six points. Taylor Lind and Fournier each had a goal and an assist, while Smith finished with two assists.
Ensley Fendelet knocked home a rebound for the game-winning goal only 24 seconds into overtime. Amara Lewendon took the loss for the Wildcats with 16 saves. Weller made 33 saves on 35 shots for the Stars, who finished seventh in the eight-team league with a 5-19-2-2 record.
“We were playing well, but we think we are better than we are,” said Pavely after the Wildcats fell to 10-10-1-7. “We don’t compete hard enough defensively. They compete really hard. We played terrible yesterday, had no business being up 5-1 and it bit us in the rear end. Today, I give them credit, they worked so hard, and we don’t match their work ethic. They are a way harder working team than we are.”
The Wildcats will now face the Regina Rebels (15-8-2-3) in the opening round of the SFMAAAHL playoffs. Each team won twice in the season series with the Rebels outscoring the Wildcats 12-11 with all four games played way back in October.
“If we play like that it’s irrelevant. The series is completely irrelevant. We will play three games and we’ll go home,” said Pavely when asked about the keys to the series.
The Rebels are led by diminutive star Kennedy Bobyck, who won the scoring title last season and was second in league scoring this season.
“We have to focus on working hard and competing. It’s not what other teams do, it’s what we do and that’s our dilemma. We don’t play hard enough for 60 minutes and that gets us in trouble,” concluded Pavely before heading into the dressing room to address his team.