The Mac’s female midget AAA champion St. Albert Slash returned to league play last weekend and split a pair of home games against the Calgary Chaos and Sherwood Park Fury.
The Slash (11-8-6) lost Saturday against Chaos (10-11-5) and beat the Fury (9-12-3) Sunday with identical 3-1 scores at Performance Arena.
Head coach Terry Sydor said both games should have been far easier for the Slash but a case of overconfidence left the team with a bit of a championship hangover.
“It was a bit strange going from a spectacle to a regular season game again,” he said.
Slash captain Melissa Kueber scored against the Chaos to make it 2-1 before the empty netter by Calgary. Emily Mitchell faced 30 shots between the pipes while the Slash directed the same number at Ainsley Bosch. Jessica Kampjes and Tegan Rose assisted on Kueber’s goal.
“We had some chances but we couldn't score. Kampjes [Mac’s tournament MVP] had three clear-cut breakaways and didn't score,” Sydor said. “Their goalie was very good and she is consistently good.”
There was simply no sense of urgency, Sydor noted. His club kept trying to do pretty backdoor plays that “looked good on TV,” but the puck kept hopping over sticks or outright missed and that was largely due to a lack of focus. The first Chaos goal went in off a backchecking Slash defender.
“You need confidence, it's important but it's not everything,” he said. “Sure, we're good, but we got here by working hard and doing all the little things and paying attention to detail.”
Despite coming out with the win against the Fury, Sydor said it the game was identical except the only difference was the direction the puck bounced. Taryn McCormick had two power play goals and Michelle Tassone notched an even strength marker. Kueber added two assists. The Slash outshot the Fury 37-28, with Tyler Lisitza stopping all but one shot.
“We took forever to get a shot on net,” Sydor said. “Sherwood Park was flat and we didn't keep the tempo high. We were flat too and we didn't really show up.”
This weekend the Slash head south to repeat an early-October road trip against the Calgary Bruins (8-14-3) and Highwood Raiders (13-9-3). The previous contests ended in 3-3 and 1-1 ties respectively. Sydor said practices leading up to the road trip would go back to blue-collar ethics.
“We had a good practice [Tuesday] and we'll continue to work hard and rebuild the intensity we had prior to Christmas and at the Mac's. They'll be two tough games, just like last time. Hopefully the excitement of being on the road again and together as a team will help us build momentum and get us back to work.”