The six graduating girls from the Central Plains Female Capitals AAA midget team — Madison Dreger from Oak Bluff, Jordan Robertson from Treherne and assistant captains Breanna Murner of Sanford, Chantal Gamache from Laurier, Autumn Garnham and Megan Tully both from Portage la Prairie — were all hoping they could capture another win to extend their season in their semifinal game against the Pembina Valley Hawks on March 16 at their home rink in Portage la Prairie.
Facing elimination while playing with only 12 skaters, the Caps played one of their best games of the season, despite losing 2-1 to the Hawks. The Caps fell behind 1-0 in the first period,but continued to apply pressure in the second, which finally paid off when they scored the equalizer on a slapshot from Tully off the point, after she received a great pass from defenceman Murner. Forward Brooke-Lyn Riley from Argyle picked up the second assist.
The two teams battled through to the third period when the Hawks scored on a power play with just over 36 seconds left in the game to win the five-game series. Robin Thiessen of Winnipeg was again very solid in net for the Caps, stopping 25 of 27 shots and making several huge saves during penalty kills.
Caps head coach Ferdi Nelissen said the team’s coaching staff was extremely pleased with the girls’ play and proud of their effort during the series against the Hawks, who are the defending MFMHL and national champions.
The Caps had an outstanding season, set a record for wins and showed that they too can compete with any team in the MFMHL.
This was a very sad loss — not just for the team but for the parents as well. When you’ve been a part of a team for the past three years, as my daughter Breanna has (along with Megan and Jordan), it makes it difficult to walk away knowing this is your last game together as a team, as a player and as a spectator.
The players on this team were not only teammates but friends, as well. They are all wonderful girls with great personalities and a lot of talent.
While some of the departing team members are still unsure what the future holds, defenceman Autumn Garnham has been accepted to the pre-med program at the University of Toronto and will play hockey for the Varsity Blues next season.
Great season girls and good luck next year!
Sandra Murner is a community correspondent for Sanford. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org