The Carillon - ONLINE EDITION
By: Terry Frey
Posted: 04/5/2018 10:34 AM
They were the underdog in all three of their playoffs rounds, but undeterred, the Manitoba Female Midget Hockey League champion Eastman Selects are no doubt again the underdog this weekend in Steinbach when they host the Saskatoon Stars in a quick best of three western series for the right to compete in the Esso Cup National Midget Women`s Championships.
Let`s be realistic, no one thought these Eastman Selects, fifth place finishers during the MFMHL regular season, would be here where they are now, playing on against the Saskatchewan champs.
Head coach Bill Bram said as much earlier this week, "no one gave us a chance." And Eastman goaltender Raygan Kirk, who had just backstopped the Selects to a thrilling 45-save, 3-2 overtime victory over the Pembina Valley Hawks last Wednesday at Ste. Anne to clinch their first ever title, said the same, "we were the underdogs, I think we were the only ones who thought this was possible."
These midget girls play hockey at an elite level and all that talent will be on display this weekend in Steinbach, with the winner advancing to the Esso Cup National Midget Women’s Championship later this month at Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.
Game one of the series this weekend will be played Friday at 3:00 p.m. at the T.G. Smith Centre. An afternoon game is necessary on Friday as the Pistons open their MJHL final against Virden in the evening.
Game two in the Eastman vs. Saskatoon series will be played Saturday at 5:00 p.m. A deciding game, if required will be played Sunday at 12:30 p.m., with all games at the T.G. Smith Centre.
Eastman is hosting this series in Steinbach as the Ste. Anne Arena, the home rink of the Selects, no longer has ice.
It was a herculean effort by the Selects in winning their first ever league title, first getting past the fourth place Yellowhead Chiefs in the quarter-finals, proceeding to knock off the first place Winnipeg Avros in the semis, before defeating the second ranked and defending champion perennial powerhouse Pembina Valley Hawks in the finals, who have won this championship seven of the last 10 years.
The Selects wrapped up the championship last Wednesday at a packed Ste. Anne Arena, winning in the most dramatic of fashions in front of hundreds of supporters as Kylie Lesuk scored the winner four minutes into the second overtime as the Selects won 3-2 and won the best of three series 3-1.
The victory celebration that ensued following that momentous double overtime victory was exuberant to say the least, certainly befitting the momentous occasion.
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