Raiders earn weekend split in playoff preview
Hockey: Highwood and Calgary Flyers to meet in first round
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 06:00 am
The Highwood Raiders are getting to know their first-round playoff opponent quite well during the final act of the regular season.
As the second and third seed the Raiders will meet the Calgary Flyers and in the first round of the Alberta Major Midget Female Hockey League (AMMFHL) playoffs and showed a taste of what’s to come with back-to-back games last weekend.
The Raiders earned a 2-1 victory on Saturday, but dropped the second game of the set 5-1 at the Bob Snodgrass Recplex in High River on Sunday afternoon.
“We didn’t have a lot of energy and we were short on players so we were kind of dead (tired) today,” said Raiders pivot Tamala Whiteside, after the 5-1 loss on Sunday. “We weren’t really as focused as we could have been and weren’t executing and that hurt us.”
The loss came at a cost for the Raiders, who needed to win the remainder of their games to have a chance at passing the Flyers in the standings.
“We had to win this game to get home-ice advantage,” said Megan Hansen, a rangy forward from Okotoks. “It would have been nice, but I’m sure we will do fine. It’s just in Calgary so it’s pretty close.”
Looking ahead to the best-of-three playoff matchup there isn’t much to choose between the South Division foes. The teams split the season series 2-2, each earned victories away from home with the Flyers outscoring the Raiders by a miniscule edge of 14-12 this season.
“I think they will be really close games for sure,” said Whiteside, a student at Oilfields High School in Black Diamond. “I think as long as we play to our ability we know we’re able to beat them like we did (Saturday).”
The Flyers, second in the South at 15-10-6 and a division leading 95 goals, will present a few challenges for the High River outfit.
“They’re pretty strong, they know what they’re doing and have a really strong penalty kill,” Whiteside said. “But as long as we cycle it and we’re the first ones on the puck we will win our battles.”
The Raiders have been a more united group in 2013 and the results are showing on the ice. Since the Christmas break and Mac’s Midget Tournament in late December, Highwood has posted a mark of 3-4-1 to improve its season total to 10-11-9.
“We were losing a lot of games and now we’re starting to pick it up to where it’s 50-50,” said Hansen, fourth on the team with nine goals and 21 points. “We’ve come together as a team. We were kind of playing as individuals before, but now we’re starting to get to know each other.”
In the other series, the top-seed Southeast Tigers will face either the Red Deer Chiefs or Calgary Bruins, who will compete in a one game playoff to determine a post-season berth.
“Playoffs are where the underdogs come up,” Whiteside said. “Hopefully we can be the underdogs and take it. It could be good.”
The Raiders will look to get in playoff form in their final two regular season meetings this weekend.
They are in St. Albert to face-off with the Slash and close their 2012-13 slate in Red Deer on Sunday. The playoff schedule is yet to be determined.
For more information on the Raiders go to www.ammfhl-hockey.ca.