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U15 AA Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs ready for division playoffs

Postseason begins Friday
U15 AA Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs defenceman Addison Shaw fires the puck into the offensive zone against the St. Albert Chargers. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

The U15 AA Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs begin their first-round playoff series on Friday night.

They’ll take on the Southern Express in the opening round of the south division playoffs in the Alberta Female Hockey League (AFHL).

All three games of the best-of-three series will be played in Red Deer at the Collicutt Centre beginning on Friday at 5:45 p.m. for Game 1. Game 2 is set for Saturday at 2:15 p.m. and if needed Game 3 will be played on Sunday at 2:15 p.m.

Head coach Don Morrison said the team has exceeded all his expectations this season.

“They’ve continually bettered themselves throughout the season. I’m super happy and proud of how the girls have developed and how they’re playing right now,” he said.

The Chiefs finished the regular season in second place in the south division with a 27-7-2-0-0 record.

Since the first-place Airdrie Lightning earned a bye into the second round, the Chiefs will host the last-place Express who only won six games this year. Despite that, the Chiefs aren’t expecting a cakewalk.

“I don’t think their record shows how good a team they actually are. If you take them lightly they can make you pay for it,” he added.

“They play hard, they don’t stop, and they play a full 60 minutes. We’ll have to be ready to go and play our game. We’re more than capable of doing that but they are a good team.”

The Chiefs are strongest on the defensive end, beginning with their goaltending and athletic defensive core. This translates to an explosive offensive game. This season the Chiefs have one of the best goal differentials at plus 41 with 128 goals for and 74 against.

“I feel like we’re a pretty good all-around team,” Morrison said.

Last season the Chiefs won bronze in the U15 AA AFHL provincial championships which was hosted in Red Deer.

After returning eight players from that team they hope to build off last year’s success. The experience gained from competing in the tournament will certainly be valuable.

“The playoffs are a second season and we’ve got returning players that’ve been through and experienced the ups and downs of playoff hockey. That’s always a really good thing,” he said.

“I think there’s a bit more maturity and calmness that those girls bring to the group. When things get tough, we’ll play our game.”

If Red Deer wins, they move on to the provincial qualifier round where they’ll battle for one of four spots in the U15 AA AFHL provincial championships in Airdrie from March 21-24.

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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