JRs Advance to Final Four, News (Kingston JR Ice Wolves)

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Mar 31, 2019 | Sportsgate | 377 views
JRs Advance to Final Four
Sportsgate HOCKEY: March 31, 2019:Defenceman Mae Batherson's slapshot from the point through a screen with less than two minutes left in the third period found the mark and gave the Kingston Jr. Ice Wolves a 2-1 win over the Mississauga Jr. Chiefs in the fifth and deciding game of their Provincial Women's Hockey League quarter-final. 

The goal, with 1:48 remaining, came just seconds after the Ice Wolves' Tatum White won a draw in the left faceoff circle deep in the Mississauga zone. The puck went back to Megan Breen at the left point and she passed it over to Batherson at the right point. Batherson took a stride toward the net and unleashed a high shot that went past a close-range block attempt and also through teammate Scout Watkins-Southward and a Mississauga defender in front of the net.

The win gave the Ice Wolves a 3-2 comeback win of the best-of-five series. Kingston trailed the set 2-1 following a 4-3 Friday night loss but rebounded to win Saturday's Game 4, 5-2, and Sunday's Game 5 to prevent a second huge upset by the Chiefs. Kingston finished first in the regular season while Mississauga, which dumped the No. 3 Etobicoke Jr. Dolphins in the first round of the playoffs, was 14th.

Kingston advances to final four weekend in Oakville, April 12-14, along with the No. 4 Stoney Creek Sabres (3-1 quarter-final winners over the No. 8 Cambridge Rivulettes), the No. 5 London Devilettes (3-2 over the No. 6 Durham West Lightning) and the No. 10 Toronto Aeros (3-2 over the No. 2 Waterloo K-W Rangers). "It was a well-played game by both teams with little room for error," Ice Wolves head coach Troy Sweet said. "It is very exciting to get past the first two rounds and now going into the final four weekend. "This is what we have been preparing for all year, trying to get better every day." Playing in front of a record crowd for the third game in a row — this time an all-time franchise high of 512 — White opened the scoring 10:52 into the first period. It was her team-leading sixth post-season goal and 11th point in eight games. Morgan Sadler tied the game for Mississauga 7:57 into the second period. Following Batherson's goal, the Chiefs put pressure on the Ice Wolves, trying to net the equalizer. They even gained a man advantage when White was slapped with a tripping minor penalty with 13 seconds remaining.

"Mississauga definitely pressed hard with 1:48 left after pulling the goalie and had some opportunities, but Gibby [goaltender Alexa Gibson] shut the door and our players closed off the middle around the net," Sweet said. "It was a great team win." As they did in every game in the series, the Ice Wolves outshot the Chiefs, this time 30-15. But Mississauga, which it did throughout the series, stayed close and proved to be a more than worthy opponent. "We definitely have learned along the way as a group as many of our players don’t have this experience," Sweet said. "I feel all these experiences and adversity is great for your team and you want to have these as a part of your season as that is the only way we learn. "I don’t feel like the team or coaching staff were nervous, as we have prepared well and we truly felt we would come out on top if we stuck to our structure, details and trusted in one another."