Female U18 Selects bounced, male team faces uphill battle
It was a quick exit for the U18 Eastman Selects in the Manitoba Female Hockey League playoffs.
Facing off against the fourth-seeded Yellowhead Chiefs, Eastman was swept in the first round, losing two close contests before dropping game three 4-0 in Shoal Lake Feb. 20.
In the opening game of the series Feb. 20, the Selects headed into the final five minutes of the game locked in a 2-2 tie, before giving up a late go-ahead goal and subsequent empty netter.
If that result wasn’t devastating enough, Eastman would lose a heartbreaker 3-2 game in Niverville Feb. 29, which required two overtime periods to sort out a winner.
Yellowhead had taken a 2-0 lead in the first period before the Selects battled back to tie the game in the second period. After that, neither team could find the back of the net for over 40 minutes. Yellowhead broke the deadlock with 6:48 to go in the second overtime period, grabbing a decisive 2-0 series lead they would covert the next day.
The season isn’t over for the U18 Female Selects, as head coach Todd Mason will be hosting an identification/tryout preparation skate April 8, including a dryland training session and question and answer about the program.
While the female Selects lick their wounds and prepare for next season, their male counterparts have a tough task ahead of them. In the AAA male U18 playoffs, the seventh seeded Eastman team will be playing the second-seed Winnipeg Bruins.
The Bruins finished the regular season with a 33-9-2 record and a plus-109 goal difference, the best in the league this season. Eastman, in comparison, finished with a minus-nine goal difference and a 21-21-2 record.
Eastman plays their games at the Sun-Gro Centre in Beausejour, and are set to host game two and game four of the series. Game two is scheduled for March 2 at 8:15 p.m. and if a game four is needed it will be played March 5 at 8 p.m.