Shaelynne Bilodeau of the Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs chases down Teghan Inglis of the Rocky Mountain Raiders during Alberta Major Bantam Bantam Female Hockey League action on Saturday at the Kinsmen B Arena. The Chiefs fell to the Raiders 5-2.

Injury bug derails promising Chiefs season

What started out as a promising season for the Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs, turned into one of survival.

Raiders 5 Chiefs 2

What started out as a promising season for the Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs, turned into one of survival.

They were finally dragged down for good on Saturday.

The Chiefs Alberta Major Bantam Female Hockey League season came to an end as they were swept by the Rocky Mountain Raiders in their best-of-three South semifinal, losing 5-2.

“I am extremely proud of the way we played, after the season we’ve had with all of the injuries and not having a full lineup for a lot of our games, we really pulled it together at the end,” said Chiefs head coach Allyson Bendfeld. “They worked the hardest I’ve seen them work all year, they really wanted the series and they showed it out there today.”

Brooklyn Park and Megan Benoit scored for Red Deer in Saturday’s game while Chantelle Sandquist made 29 saves.

The Chiefs (10-14-2-0) finished the regular season in fourth place in the South Division and then cruised by the Southeast Tigers (2-24-0-0) in the first round of the playoffs.

But the Chiefs were just outgunned by the first place Raiders (18-4-1-3), who also beat Red Deer 3-1 in Cochrane in Game 1 on Thursday.

“I don’t think there was much of a difference, they were just able to put a few more pucks in the net than we were,” said Bendfeld. “They were able to bury their opportunities and we weren’t quite able to pull that off in this series against them.”

The biggest issue for the Chiefs all season was their long-standing relationship with the injury bug. All five of their top scorers missed multiple games through the season due to injury.

This cost them valuable points and positioning — not to mention continuity — forcing them to play the extra play-in series against the Tigers and then set them up to play the powerhouse Raiders this weekend.

It was a tough path for any team to take on.

“We had quite a few injuries after Christmas and we had a rough few weeks in this last half of the season,” said Bendfeld. “But coming into the playoffs we had our full lineup and the girls were able to take advantage of it.”

The Chiefs were led this year by Jade Bussard who had 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) in 20 games while Shae Demale had 18 points (9-9-18) in 24 games, Kaley Mueller 14 points (12-2-14) in 21 games and Benoit had 13 points (8-5-13) in 21 games.

Their two goalies split time in the crease with Sandquist posting a 7-8-0 record with a 2.78 goals against average and a .900 save percentage while Mandi Fitzsimons was 3-7-2 with a 3.37 G.A.A. and a .870 save percentage.

This was a veteran team with only a couple of returning players next season, but Bendfeld there is a lot of talent moving on up to midget.

“I think these girls in the next couple of years, you’ll see them step up into that AAA role and there’s going to be a lot of good things happening in a couple of years with that program,” said Bendfeld.

jaldrich@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Red Deer teacher contracts condemning same-sex relationships ‘not acceptable’

Eggen says Red Deer Catholic Schools assured him they no longer have employees sign the form

Second-degree murder trial on hold until January

Jury not back until Jan. 7 for 2015 stabbing death trial while lawyers argue evidence issues

Hospitalizations jump in Red Deer due to opioid poisonings

Small city hospitals impacted more by opioid crisis

Stray dog spotted in one Red Deer neighbourhood, could be missing for 1 year

Red Deerians asked not to feed this german shepard

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Trump comments upend U.S. approach to Huawei, trade talks

WASHINGTON — The United States and China have taken pains this week… Continue reading

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Dumba scores twice, Wild rout Canadiens 7-1

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Reeling and banged up, the Minnesota Wild were… Continue reading

Coach Hunter wants up-tempo Team Canada as world junior squad hits ice

COLWOOD, B.C. — Team Canada coach Tim Hunter says the team that… Continue reading

Study finds female-led films outperform male ones

NEW YORK — A study organized by Time’s Up, the organization formed… Continue reading

Price Is Right contestant wins winter trip to Winnipeg, Churchill

WINNIPEG — Who wants to visit Winnipeg in the dead of winter?… Continue reading

CBC Gem streaming service to launch exclusive content, partners with Wattpad

TORONTO — The CBC has launched a new streaming service featuring live… Continue reading

‘Part of the solution:’ Alberta seeks proposals to build new refinery

EDMONTON — Alberta is looking for someone to build a new oil… Continue reading

Most Read