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Two Inaugural AFHL Provincial Championships Decided in Close Games

By Neil Hilts on March 23, 2017

The St. Albert Slash dominated through the regular season, and overcame some obstacles in the playoffs to pull through for the AFHL Midget AAA Title. (Courtesy of the AFHL)

The No. 1 seeds in the Alberta Female Hockey League’s Bantam Elite and Midget AAA Divisions capped their dominant seasons off with provincial championships wins.

St. Albert Slash, the Midget AAA winners, and Calgary Fire White, Bantam Elite champs, finished atop their respective leagues and kept the dominance going to end of the season.

In the Midget AAA Provincials, the host Rocky Mountain Raiders went 3-0 through the round robin play, including beating the top-ranked St. Albert Slash, jumping right in the Finals. 

The Slash, who were 27-2-1 in the regular season, went 1-2 in the round robin, also losing to the fourth seed Red Deer Sutter Chiefs but defeating Calgary Fire 6-0. With three teams posting a 1-2 record, the Slash made the finals against Rocky Mountain off a goal differential.

Rocky Mountain was riding a high, allowing just three goals in three games. Meanwhile, St. Albert had already lost as many times as they did during the year and needed to turn things around. Camryn Drever turned in a sensational performance, stopping all 36 shots she faced, shutting down the high-powered Raiders offence. 

Kaitlyn Pelley scored towards the end of the first and it stood as the game winner, while Slash forward Madison Willan scored one minute into the third. Pelley only recorded two goals all season, so her clutch one in the finals was a pleasant surprise for the team.


On the Bantam Elite side, a St. Albert rep was also in the final round, but the Calgary Fire White pulled through with one extra goal to claim top prize. (Courtesy of the AFHL)

 

BANTAM ELITE FINALS
Over on the Bantam side, hosted in Olds, the top five teams across two divisions got to partake. Both Calgary Fire Red and Calgary Fire White joined from the South, along with No. 2 Olds. Up North, St. Albert and No. 3 Sherwood Park were the attendees.

Through the round robin, Calgary White was 2-1-1 with wins over their Calgary counterpart and Sherwood Park, jumping right to Sunday’s final. St. Albert earned the other championship berth and home ice advantage with a 2-0-2 record.

The final game was a defensive battle and came down to strong goaltending. St. Albert’s Elle Boyko made 21 saves, but the one that got through was enough to give Calgary the trophy. Hailey Wiltshire had the lone goal for the Fire 5:14 into the second, and Jessica Flegel stopped all 14 pucks on net with a 1-0 win.

En route to the provincial championships, Sherwood Park had to first defeat the No. 6 Peace Country Storm before besting the second-seed Lloydminster 8-4 to earn a berth to Olds. First-place St. Albert beat No. 4 Edmonton. 

Down South, Calgary Fire White narrowly got by No. 5 Red Deer with a 3-2 win. Olds and Calgary Fire Red met up in one of the South semifinals, with the Grizzlys taking the win 7-4, but both made Provincials.

The Midget Elite Finals take place March 23-26 and the league’s top five teams, Peace Country, Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary (Fire Red) and Sherwood Park will do battle in the latter’s home rink.

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By Neil Hilts| March 23, 2017
Categories:  Minor Hockey
Keywords:  AB Minor Hockey

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