There was nothing more than pride on the line, but nobody appeared to tell that to the ladies of the Alberta Junior Female Hockey League.
A bitter battle between the North and South division teams at the Penhold Multiplex for the annual all-star game ended in a thrilling 3-2 win from the North.
There were blocked shots in the final minute, plenty of puck battles and a penalty shot goal. The festivities also included a skills competition earlier in the afternoon on Saturday.
All and all a good day for the AJFHL, a league that was formed in 2009 for female players between the ages 18-21 and now has 10 teams according to Jack Evans, a member of the league executive.
“It’s a chance for the teams to recognize some of their talented players so they get a chance to play with some more talented players. Our hope is that many of the girls will go to CIS or the next step,” he said.
He added while the best part of the full-day affair was the skills competition, it was pretty clear everybody was looking for a win in the game as well.
“The skills were really where it was a ton of fun for everyone. They all did it together, everyone laughed together,” Evans said.
“All of the ladies asked me what do they get if they win? Nothing, except the pride of knowing they won… so it’s just for pride but that’s not stopping them. It’s fun to see.”
Evans also explained that nearly four years ago, it was hard to put teams together and now, the talent level has grown and the competition has tightened up.
That makes the AJFHL league the perfect opportunity for players who are looking for an in-between hockey experience after midget and that next step.
“When you finish midget, you can go to a senior women’s league, but other than that there’s nowhere to go where it’s a competitive level,” he said.
“I know that a number of our ladies are 19 or 20 and weren’t ready to go to school or decided not to go to school. Now they have the opportunity to go to school and play hockey after a couple years.”
The local representative was the Central Alberta Amazons and six members of their team participated in the all-star festivities. Amazons in the all-star game included goalie Nisa Bartlet, defender Laura Simpson, forwards Carly Umbach, Andy Anderson, Kierra Scollo and Tara Dickson.
Scollo scored to tie the game at two late in the second period and Umbach drew an assist. North forward Janelle Ogonoski got the game winner with a slap shot top corner early in the third. Bartlet made nine saves in her only period of work.
Maggie Coyne had the opening goal for South, before Sidney Harms notched a tally for the North.
Dallas Kot scored in the second period for the North on a penalty shot.
The next Amazons home game is on Jan. 13 at 3:45 against the Calgary Warriors.