Steelers right wing Avery Gilby attempts to move the puck past Impact defenceman Jorja Nystrom. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO
An ability to bounce back helped the Lloydminster bantam Junior Steelers to a successful three-game homestand this past weekend.
The Steelers began the action with a 2-1 victory against the Sherwood Park Royals (4-2-1) on Friday, before dropping a tough 3-2 decision to the Rocky Mountain Raiders (4-3-2) the next evening.
The girls brushed off the loss on Sunday morning with a 5-3 win against the North Central Impact (4-4).
“We thought coming into it that if we could get six points out of nine then we would consider it a good weekend, but we lost a heartbreaker (Saturday) night with five seconds left in the game,” said Steelers head coach Morgan Mann shortly after the Impact contest.
“To rebound mentally from that and physically being our third game in three days, I was really pleased with the effort and how we bounced back today.”
Both the Steelers and Impact traded chances during the opening minutes of their Sunday morning showdown at the Servus Sports Centre, but it was the home side that would strike first. Steelers defenceman Olivia Mann did the honours by wiring a cross-ice pass from Harper Krauss low corner short side on Impact goalie Laney Pasemko with 6:35 remaining in the opening frame.
Impact defenceman Sara Kazeil evened the score 12 minutes into the second period on a blast from the point that bounced off Steelers netminder Kamden Rochford’s glove and in. Mackenzie Stafford made up for the bad bounce with 35 seconds left in the period by redirecting a Mann shot blocker side on Pasemko for the 2-1 lead.
The Impact battled back to tie the game again by the five-minute mark of the third period courtesy of a second bomb by Kazeil. Steelers right wing Avery Gilby provided a reply at the 8:44 mark by firing the puck high blocker side from the slot through a swarm of bodies that crowded Pasemko’s crease.
“We started off good then got a little weaker and picked it up in the third,” said Gilby. “I think just everyone’s mentality of wanting to win gave everyone an extra push.”
Mann notched her second of the game about three minutes after Gilby’s marker to make the score 4-2. Impact forward Bethany Saniga completed the scoring on a shot from the top of the circle with 12 seconds remaining.
“We have a real strong group of characters,” said Mann. “We have a good leadership core, but the whole group is close. They get along real well and they have the right kind of attitude. They’re positive and (have) a lot of battle and when you have that kind of attitude you can bounce back.”
The Steelers (5-4-1) return to action this Saturday and Sunday for a couple of home dates against the Alberta Female Hockey League North Division leading Peace Country Bonnett’s Storm (6-3-1).
“We’re really tight as a group, so that’s good,” said Gilby. “We’re just going to keep on getting better. And all the things we did right in these games, we’ve got to keep on doing them and combine them all together for (this weekend’s) games.”