Lloydminster PWM Steelers goalie Bella McKee follows the play during the third period of her team’s 2-1 series clinching win against the Calgary Fire at the Servus Sports Centre on Sunday. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO
The Lloydminster PWM midget AAA Steelers is one step closer to a Hockey Alberta championship.
The Steelers battled past the Calgary Fire in the opening round of the Alberta Female Hockey League playoffs this past weekend. The team doused the Fire 4-3 at the Servus Sports Centre on Saturday night before winning the best-of-three series in a 2-1 victory at home on Sunday morning.
“We turned it around coming off a losing streak,” said Steelers defenceman Tianna Yaremko, in reference to the team’s 0-4-2 record heading into the playoffs. “We beat them and, thank God, we swept them.”
The Steelers and Fire played through 24 minutes of back-and-forth action in the series decider before Yaremko notched the opening marker by batting in a Jenna Plamondon rebound past goalie Jessica Fiegel while her team skated shorthanded.
Each of the clubs exchanged chances following the goal, but it was the Steelers’ Chelsea Debusschere who would manage to light the lamp next.
“I knew there was only a few more seconds left in the (period), so I plopped my butt in front of the net,” said Debusschere, about her 2-0 marker with six seconds remaining in the middle frame. “Jayden (Thorpe) was able to pass it to me and I just popped it in.”
The Fire entered the third period with their foot on the gas continually pressuring the Steelers low in their own end.
Fire forward Jessica Younker earned the reward with 1:08 remaining when her shot from the top of the circle through traffic beat Steelers netminder Bella McKee far side.
Yaremko noted they weathered the third period storm by staying positive and playing simple in their own end clearing the puck high and out.
Debusschere added the girls played hard and together as a team to win the deciding contest.
The Steelers (16-11-3 during the regular season) now advance to the Hockey Alberta female midget AAA championship tournament in Red Deer from March 22 to 25.
Also competing at provincials will be the Rocky Mountain Raiders (24-4-2), the St. Alberta Ron Hodgson Slash (21-8-1) and the host Sutter Fund Chiefs (16-9-5).
“They’re really good teams,” said Debusschere. “They like to move their feet, so we just need to play our game, play as a team and work hard. We have the talent to win, so we should have a good chance.”