Riot split first two provincial games

Great start. Not such a great finish.

Janelle Sullivan of the Red Deer Riot

Great start. Not such a great finish.

The host Red Deer KFC Riot opened the provincial junior women’s lacrosse championship on a positive note on Friday at the Kinex, crushing the Edmonton Warriors 9-1, but then dropped a narrow 7-6 decision to the Calgary Sabrecats.

The 1-1 Riot will take on the Sherwood Park Titans at 11:30 a.m. today, and at 7 p.m. will face the Calgary Cardinals.

Janessa Sullivan netted three goals for the Riot in the Friday morning contest, while Hayley deBeaudap and Leah Boucher each scored twice and Paige Farries and Alexis Monk notched single goals.

“The girls were ready for the morning game, but apparently they’re not afternoon girls,” said Riot coach Harold Albrecht. “We came back in this second game, but we fell a little short. That second period killed us.”

Indeed, the Riot trailed 6-2 after two frames, then outscored the Sabrecats, who got a dominant five-goal performance from Marina Barry, 4-1 in the third period.

“The way we came back was the positive thing about the game, the only positive thing. I guess the girls were affected playing two games in two days, because they stopped running in the second period and that’s what killed us,” said Albrecht. “The other team just kept coming at us and they did well, including their goalie.”

Still, the Riot can take some level of momentum into today’s meeting with the Titans, who blasted the Sabrecats 15-4 earlier Friday and met the Cardinals in the late game.

“There’s still room to roll back in,” said Albrecht, whose team will have to finish first or second in the five-team, round-robin competition to qualify for Sunday’s 1:30 p.m. gold-medal game.

“Like I told the girls, if you just calm down and play the game, we can shorten the shifts and keep fresher legs. Our first game tomorrow (today) is going to be a tough one. The Titans are a good running team and it’s good for us that it’s a morning game because our girls will be ready to go. We’re basically 50-50 against (Sherwood Park) this season and we have to win twice Saturday to get to the gold medal game.”

The top two teams following round-robin play will meet in the provincial final, with the third- and fourth-place clubs clashing for bronze at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

DeBeaudap, with three goals, Farries with two and Sullivan with a single marker, scored for the Riot in the loss to the Sabrecats.

In Friday’s other contest, the Warriors beat the Cardinals 4-1.

In today’s other games, the Sabrecats and Warriors will clash at 9 a.m., the Cardinals and Sabrecats will do battle at 2 p.m. and the Warriors and Titans will tangle at 4:30 p.m.

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