The way the Taber midget Oil girls hockey team has been playing down the stretch, the team certainly looks like it is peaking at the right time as it prepares for league playoffs and provincials.
The team earned a berth into provincials thanks to winning the goal differential two-game set with Lomond Stars with a 3-0 shutout on the road and a 5-5 tie back home at the Taber Arena last Wednesday evening.
“System wise, it seems like our team has been gelling the last 10 or 15 games,” said Rich Nagai, assistant coach for the Taber midget Oil girls hockey team.
“We’ve really come around playing like a team. Our systems have been working, we have been playing the best hockey we have all year.”
The team has skated to an 11-1-2 record for 2014.
Lennae Wong earned the shutout in the Oil’s first provincial playdown game against Lomond, posting Taber to a three-goal cushion in the deciding game.
Wong was fighting illness in last Wednesday’s game, but was also not helped defensively at times in a 5-5 draw which still earned the Taber Oil its provincial berth in March.
“The first game we played a really solid defensive game.”
The girls were sort of nervous coming back to our own barn because we don’t get to play many games there because of league rules,” said Nagai. “Our five goals were great, but we did have some defensive breakdowns and lapses which led to goals. And Lennae was not feeling 100 per cent.”
The team also skated to a 4-4 tie with Innisfail on Saturday which gave the team second place in the Rocky Mountain Female Hockey League with league playoffs at the beginning of March. Taber midget Oil girls hockey team will be playing in Midget ‘B’ Female provincials March 20-23 in Lloydminster
To keep the team sharp, the Oil will be playing a couple of exhibition games against a team from Utah this weekend.
“The girls have come a long way, it’s nice to see that improvement. We don’t start off with the biggest pool of players,” said Nagai. “The girls have been working hard with their conditioning and the drill are really paying off.”
BANTAM: Bantam Oil Kings suffered a 5-0 blanking at the hands of Kneehill Chiefs on Saturday.
Sunday’s contest saw an 8-3 victory against Strathmore Storm. Kevin Turner notched four goals in the victory, with Mitch Young, Evan Harkness, Quinn Slezak, and Ryan Hubble scoring singles. Kadin Reynolds chipped in four assists with Ryan Mankow, Gavin Hoskins and Young getting two helpers. Daylen Parker, Turner, and Slezak had single assists.
NOVICE: Taber novice 1 Oil Kings earned a 12-10 victory over Vauxhall last Wednesday. Connor Eldridge, Heath Hansen and Kade Duell each had four goals apiece. Eldridge, Duell, Braxton Macnamara, Ainsley Duell, Erik Grimson, Hunter Damberger and Xavier Hull registered assists. Macnamara earned the win in net.
The two novice teams tangled this past week with Taber novice Oil Kings 2 edging Oil Kings 1 by a score of 12-11.
Scoring for Oil Kings 2 were Ashton Lukacs and Matthew Gensorek with hat tricks each and Evan Rabusic and Kyler Marchuk with two goals apiece. Walker Skiba notched a single. Assists were recorded by Marchuk, Kahill Wright, Gensorek, Tristan Egeland, Lukacs, and Matteo Blasetti.
Replying for Oil Kings 1 were Kade Duell with four goals, Eldridge with the hat trick, Hansen with two goals and Jaxson Coutts with a single. Eldridge, Kade Duell, Vance Kramer, Logan Maccombe, Hansen and Owen Ruggles recorded assists.