Final: Dakota 2-1 (OT) FRC Centurions
March 10 2014
Players of the Game:
Jessica Schmidt, Dakota Lancers
Cassidy Mazur, FRC Centurions
If Game One of the B Side Finals was characterized by wide open trading chances hockey, then Game One of the A Side Final/League Championship was characterized by tight checking defence first play. Finally, however, #16 Jessica Schmidt for the Dakota Lancers fed the puck to #77 Taylor Friesen and the scoring phenom maneuvered herself into position in the slot and fired a quick shot beating FRC Centurions goaltender Katrina Mizeracki to the stick-side, 1 – 0 Lancers. The Centurions pushed back with a hard slap shot by #4 Andrea Bruce; the rebound trickled just too far for her winger. Later in the period #23 Cassidy Mazur chipped the puck past the Lancers’ defender and led a rush. She was checked but regained control of the puck and fired a backhand which beat Lancers’ goaltender Sydney Urwin but clanged off the left post just as the first period came to an end.
In the second, the game became increasingly physical with Andrea taking an early slashing penalty and sending the Lancers on the power play. However, it was the Centurions that had the first scoring chance with #22 Alyssa Cochrane firing a slap shot which Sydney stopped with her blocker. The Lancers responded with #4 Ashten Vankoughnett passing to #9 Mackenzie Kowalczuk but her shot was high and wide. Back at full strength the play seemed to open with Ashten getting a shot and the Centurions response coming from Cassidy who beat three Lancers’ defenders and almost got into the clear in front of Sydney, only to be knocked off the puck at the last moment. Then #18 Olivia Renaud was called for interference and it was the Centurions’ chance to go on the power play. However, the Lancers did a good job of keeping the Centurions out of the offensive zone and limiting their chances and no damage was done. However seconds after Olivia was back on the ice, Cassidy gained the offensive zone and was held by #19 Madison Stratton. This time the Centurions power play did a much better job and #17 Tori White fired a hard slap shot which Sydney gloved. On the next play the puck came back to Tori, she passed to Cassidy for another shot but Sydney held her ground. The Lancers finally cleared with #5 Trina Allard leading a 2 on 1 with Jessica on her wing. The puck ended being shot right through the crease but again no harm was done. On the next play Lancers’ #22 Paige Carloni was tripped by Centurions’ #2 Kyra Fanning and again the Lancers were on the power play. This was quickly nullified however when Cassidy skated in to the Lancers’ zone and was tripped by #2 Kaileigh Tod. With the teams playing 4 on 4, the puck came back to Andrea at the point, her slap shot was labeled but Sydney saw it at the last moment and made the save. As time wound down in the second period, the Centurions had a brief power play which Alyssa almost converted when with less than 5 seconds left she rang a slap shot off the post.
In the third period both teams seemed to find a higher level. Alyssa led a rush, 2 on 1. Using her winger as a decoy, she fired a hard slap shot which Sydney deflected. Jessica replied for the Lancers sweeping down left wing. Her pass to #11 Kelsie Sloan was just too far. #2 Kyra Fanning responded for the Centurions with a shot from the point which was stopped by Sydney but the rebound trickled tantalizingly towards the goal line until it was covered by Andrea. The Lancers cleared but soon the Centurions were back led by Cassidy. She passed to #12 Quinn Nicholls who was stripped of the puck by Lancers’ defender #14 Sarah Hiltz just in time. The Lancers couldn’t clear however and the puck came to #19 Haven Saunders. Haven passed back to Cassidy who skated in from the right side and fired it past Sydney, 1 – 1. The Lancers pushed back hard, perhaps overly so, and found themselves spending time in the penalty box as first Olivia and then #10 Sydney Last were sent off for roughing and tripping respectively. However, Sydney kept the score even with excellent goaltending, ably assisted by her defence, particularly Ashten. With the teams at full strength and less than 3 minutes to play, the Centurions exerted sustained pressure and a rebound came to Quinn in perfect position by the weak-side post. Her shot seemed labeled but somehow Sydney got across and made the save. With overtime looming, each team took time outs in quick succession but the score remained deadlocked as the buzzer went to end the third period.
Overtime Baby! The tension reached a fever pitch as both sides had excellent chances. For the Centurions, Cassidy seemed to be everywhere and finally she fed a perfect pass to Haven. Half the net seemed open but again Sydney got across and made the save. Then it was the Lancers’ turn. Mackenzie came in from a sharp angle but Katrina held the post. After a period of furious end-to-end action, the Centurions were called for icing. Jessica won the draw for the Lancers and passed back to Ashten at the point. Her shot was right on but Katrina froze the puck. Again the teams lined up for the faceoff; again Jessica won the draw and passed back to Ashten; again Ashten fired a shot on net; this time it was neatly deflected by Jessica over Katrina’s shoulder and into the net. The Lancers’ fans went wild as they celebrated a hard fought victory. Shots on goal, Dakota Lancers 26, FRC Centurions 23.
Kudos to the fans of both teams who rocked the stands at the Iceplex (Dakota even brought their band)!