Central Alberta Amazons goalie Nisa Bartlett makes a save for the Alberta Junior Female Hockey League North division all-star team on Saturday in Penhold. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Central Alberta Amazons chase down top spot in AJFHL

The Central Alberta Amazons are challenging for first place in the Alberta Junior Female Hockey League south division.

Heading into the final weekend of the season, the Amazons are tied at 42 points with the Cochrane Chaos for tops in the league and have won five games in a row.

That included a 4-0 win on home ice last weekend against the Lethbridge Eagles. The Amazons will play three games in three nights this weekend on the road to try and take over first place.

“Last couple games we went through some adversity, and they’re really showing that they want to be there for each other. They might have the gusto when we get into a spot, and they’ll battle to fight our way out. Really optimistic going into the playoffs,” head coach Randy Burt said.

“There’s no fear of us losing our position now, but it’s all about establishing some team records and stuff like that.”

They’ll travel to Sherwood Park Friday, before heading to Lethbridge Saturday and rounding out the regular season in Calgary Sunday.

“Everybody in the league seems like they’re pushing hard when they play us, there’s no pushover games. That’s good to see,” he said.

The Amazons have the league’s best goalie in Nisa Bartlett who has 17 wins on the year and a stellar .964 save percentage to go with a 0.90 goals against average.

Three Amazons are also in the top 20 in the nine-team league in scoring, with Kierra Scollo in 12th. She has nine goals and 11 assists in 22 games, while Laura Simpson and Carly Umbach each have 18 points.

Burt added he’s been impressed all year long with the progress his team has made week-after-week. He hopes they can make a deep playoff run this year and hopefully top Cochrane in the division final.

“I saw it in them, we had a pretty aggressive camp this year. Picking who we felt would put us in the position we’re in right now,” Burt said.

“Absolutely optimistic at the start of the year. Until you see some of that adversity, you don’t really know. We’ve really matured and come together as a group in the last three months.”

Playoffs get underway Feb. 20, with a best of three format. First place in the south plays off against the fourth place team and the second seed plays the third.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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