Chiefs 2 Tigers 1
The Medicine Hat Tigers aren’t about to let the Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs run away with the South Division of the Alberta Major Midget Female Hockey League.
On the other hand the Chiefs aren’t about to let the Tigers catch them without a fight.
The two top teams in the South Division hooked up in a weekend doubleheader at the Kin City Arenas and came away exactly the way they went in.
The Tigers used a string of late penalties to pull out a 6-3 victory Saturday with the Chiefs turning around to record a 2-1 win Sunday afternoon and remain four points up on the Tigers, who have a game in hand.
The Chiefs have seven games remaining and finish the season Feb. 11-12 with a doubleheader in Medicine Hat.
“We came into the weekend with the idea of beating them at least three of the four games, so that’s what made today that much more important,” said Chiefs head coach Mickey Girard, who was missing team goal scoring leader Jade Petrie Sunday.
“Today was a good bounce-back game for us, considering we were a little short with Jade out,” said Girard. “But we made a couple of changes and the girls worked hard.”
The Chiefs also got a solid effort from goaltender Megan Kirkland, who finished with 30 saves. Two of her best came late in the third period when she stopped Chelsea Kasprick and Rachel Plitz, who were able to cut in off the wing past the Red Deer defence.
“Megan had a strong game, which was good to see,” added Girard. “In fact we need both goalies (Kirkland and Jennifer West) to be more consistent . . . we got that today.”
The Chiefs led 1-0 after the second period on a goal by Reanna Arnold with Presley Hollman scoring a shorthanded marker at 8:27 of the third period.
“The shorthanded goal gave us a cushion,” said Girard. “But we made a mistake to let them back in it. We shouldn’t have, but it happens.”
Tricia Van Vaerenbergh scored for the Tigers at 12:38.
Girard feels Sunday’s victory may get the team back to where he wants them, heading down the stretch.
“In December we played a lot of hockey at Notre Dame and the Mac’s tournament, with Christmas in there, and we got away from some of the things we were doing better earlier. I told the girls I feel this game may get us back on track. We need to pay more attention to some of our coverage, but overall we were good.”
On Saturday the Tigers scored three times over the final six minutes and 18 seconds — twice on the power play.
“Yesterday we were right with them and then we ran into a string of penalties, some our fault and some not necessarily so,” said Girard. “But we played seven minutes five-on-three and it caught up with us.”
Mackenzie Gal and Katie West scored power play goals and Kasprick found an empty net to finish the scoring.
Petrie led the Chiefs with two goals while Krista Wilson added a single marker.
Earlier Plitz had two goals and Kasprick one for the Tigers, who finished with 31 shots on West. Medicine Hat’s Victoria Campbell also faced 31 shots.
The Chiefs travel to High River to face the Highwood Raiders next Sunday and are back at home Jan. 28 against Spruce Grove.
l The Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs earned one of a possible four points in major bantam hockey league play at home during the weekend.
They tied the Lloydminster IceCats 1-1 Saturday and lost 5-0 to the Calgary Outlaws Sunday.
Becky Davidson scored for the Chiefs against the ‘Cats while Christina Boulton made 15 saves. Red Deer had 18 shots on goal.
On Sunday, the Outlaws netminder, Dayna Owen, made 22 saves for the shutout. Bailey Knapp faced 31 shots in the Red Deer net.