Raiders 4 Chiefs 3 (OT)
Playing short-handed, the Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs were bound to come up short sooner than later.
For the second game in succession, the injury-riddled Chiefs dressed only 13 skaters on Friday at Kin City.
The Red Deer squad was successful while in the same situation last weekend while grabbing a 2-0 lead over the Highwood Raiders in the best-of-five Alberta Major Midget Female Hockey League South Division final, but not in Game 3, as Kenzie Menzak’s overtime goal gave the Raiders a 4-3 win.
“We came out hard tonight and kind of got running around a bit and that tires you out,” said Chiefs coach Mickey Girard. “I think that might have been the difference at times.”
The Chiefs got first-period goals from Taylor Hall and Hannah Mousek and took a 2-1 lead into the intermission. Ashley Graf tallied for the home side in the second period, which ended with the teams tied 3-3.
Neither club connected in the third period, setting the stage for Menzak’s winning goal, her second of the game.
Lauren Fredrich and Hannah Olenyk also scored for the visitors, while Katy Joseph assisted on all four Highwood markers.
“Really, we had one player beat us tonight,” said Girard, in reference to Joseph. “She’s their best player and the one you have to watch. We probably didn’t handle her as well as we have in the past.”
Both goaltenders were sharp, with Red Deer’s Camille Trautman stopping 29 shots and Jenni Schmidt making 38 saves for the Raiders.
Already minus the services of Taryn Baumgardt (shoulder) and Janelle Froehler (concussion), the Sutter Fund crew lost Emily Lougheed to back spasms prior to Friday’s game.
Game 4 of the series goes today at 2 p.m. in High River and the Chiefs’ injury situation will remain the same. In fact, Girard said none of the injured players will be available in the event of a fifth and decisive game, which would be played Sunday at 12:45 p.m. at Kin City B.
“But we did a good job down there last week with 13 skaters, so hopefully we’ll get the job done tomorrow,” he said.