Saskatoon Stars shine in West Region Final
The Saskatoon Stars have booked their trip to the Esso Cup with Saturday night’s 3-0 victory over the Westman Wildcats in the West Region Final. The Stars swept the series 2-0 in convincing fashion, outshooting their opponent 41-3 in the deciding game.
Although the team is excited to be representing the west once again at Nationals, this veteran-laden group has been focused on winning the franchise’s first Esso Cup all season, after losing to St. Albert in last year’s final.
“We’ve talked about it before, that sour taste in your mouth, wanting to win your last hockey game (of the year),” said head coach Greg Slobodzian. “We’ve got a lot of girls here who, that (feeling) stuck with them all summer. You saw our start this year, and I think they want to go back and prove that they’re the team that should’ve come out on top.”
“When we get (to) the Esso we’re all going to be at the top of our game,” said goaltender Arden Kliewer. “We want to come back with that championship and we just want to prove to Canada that last year, that should’ve been us.”
Although the Stars have enjoyed many successes this past year — a one-loss regular season, a league championship, and now the west regional championship, like most high-calibre teams, they are still looking to improve heading into the national round robin.
“A few of our last big games we’ve gotten a little sloppy at the end,” said assistant captain Ashley Messier. “I feel like that’s what got to us last year too, so we’re going to go in knowing what it feels like to get that taken away from you, and I don’t think that’s going to happen again.”
“We just have to play a full 60 minutes every single game, play like it’s our last game, every game,” said assistant captain Joelle Fiala. “(We can’t) get complacent because we’ve been there before and we were okay with where we were at — that’s not going to happen again.”
The Stars begin their Esso Cup round-robin play on April 21 against the winner of the Ontario Region.
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