Saskatoon proud of its effort despite loss in Mac’s female championship
Stars fell 3-1 to Edmonton Thunder
Regret? Naturally. Self-recrimination? Not a shred.
“None of us, I don’t think,” acknowledged tournament all-star goaltender Samantha Ridgewell, “expected to be in the final in the first place.
“We hadn’t been playing our best hockey coming into this tournament but we came out strong here. We got to play at the Saddledome. Did we want to win, badly? Of course. But it was still an amazing experience.”
The Saskatoon Stars were beaten in Tuesday’s Mac’s girls final on goals within a two-minute second period by a strong, physical Edmonton Thunder team looking to atone for previous finals heartbreak.
“We outworked and outskated them in the first,” reasoned Stars coach Heath Tyndall. “You could tell by our shot total (12-7). We threw 22-23 pucks at the net. And I truly believe that if we’d got a goal in that first period it would’ve been a totally different game. But that’s a good team. There’s a lot of big bodies out there compared to us. They deflected a lot of shots, moved pucks to the side.”
The Thunder opened its account at 2:57 of the second, game MVP Alexandra Poznikoff swinging into the slot and burying a shot upstairs on Ridgewell, glove side. Exactly 120 seconds later, Ridgewell stymied Poznikoff on a breakaway, but Morgan Casson was there to clean up the scraps.
The lead was increased to three before, finally, at 16:55 of the third, Kennedy Harris of the Stars snapped a rising power play shot from the high slot that nicked the glove of Edmonton goaltender Chloe Sanderson and dropped into the net.
But they could draw no closer.
“What I loved about our team,” praised Tyndall, “is our leadership. And our leadership didn’t quit. They took it to us in the second period. But we came back, scored a goal and put a bit of fear in them, for sure.
“Personally, I’ve been here four years in a row. I came twice with my son with the Contacts and now I’m here with the Stars, with my daughter (Bree), who’s graduating. It’s incredible. This is what everybody talks about back home. To me, there’s not a better tournament. Every kid should get here, at least once. If they don’t, they’re missing something.”
Those quick-fire strikes, in the final analysis, were the difference. Still, Saskatoon placed four players among the all-stars, went 3-0-1 in the round-robin phase, and picked up three individual awards.
“It’s always been tough when people score on us quick the way it happened,” sighed Ridgewell. “Then we have a bit of a down spell. But when we get a goal, we’re on fire, and the floodgates open.
“We just didn’t get that goal quickly enough today.
“But we can still be proud of ourselves. We had a good go.”
Follow George Johnson on Twitter/GeorgejohnsonCH
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