Steelers lacerated by Slash

By Gordon Anderson

March 7, 2017 12:00 AM

TOP DRAWER PWM Steelers forward Jenna Plamondon watches the puck soar over Brianna Sank's shoulder and into the net in Alberta Female Hockey League AAA midget action at the Servus Centre on Sunday afternoon. The Steelers dropped the game 6-2 to the St. Albert Slash to close the AFHL regular season. The Steelers will face the Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs in the first round of the playoffs. GORDON ANDERSON LLS PHOTO

Once again a lack of maximum effort caused the maximum amount of damage to the Steelers.
The first-place St. Albert Slash skated away with a 6-2 win over the PWM Steelers on the final afternoon of Alberta Female Hockey League AAA midget action at the Servus Centre on Sunday afternoon.
The Steelers (12-17-1) finish the regular season fifth place in the Central Division with 34 points, two points behind the third-place Calgary Fire.
The Slash had a league best 27-2-1 record with 81 points.
“The Slash are a very good team and there’s a reason they’ve had the success they’ve had,” Steelers head coach Eric Morrissette said.
“I believe we’re a great team, too. Today, we had spark in certain places but we wouldn’t put it together for 60 minutes.”
The Slash finished the 30-game regular season with 119 goals, compared to the 47 for the Steelers.
Simply put, the Slash will get their goals no matter how well the opposition plays in its own zone.
But what can’t happen are free opportunities at the cage.
Midway through the second the visitors had two breakaways within 30 seconds of each other, but Steelers goalie Sadie Reid was equal to the task on both occasions.
In the third, the Steelers allowed two more breakaways and the Slash scored on both of them to turn a 4-2 lead into a 6-2 win.
“Ultimately, they are a very opportunistic team,” Morrissette said.
“When you give them a chance they have girls that can finish. In the last two games, that’s been one of the two biggest differences. We need to tighten up defensively in certain situations. We talked about certain plays we didn’t want to make and we didn’t execute on that and they made us pay.”
On Saturday the Steelers were in St. Albert and dropped a 6-1 decision.
Following the loss the dressing room was mausoleum quiet as the coach played amateur psychologist and sleuth, doing his best to resurrect a team that dropped its final home game of the regular season.
Truth be told, the club hasn’t been at its best since they opened the new year on a five-game losing streak.
Overall they went 2-9-1 in the 2017 portion of the season.
“It’s last home game for some of the girls who have been with us for three years and to lose (like that), they’re taking it hard,” Morrissette said.
“I hope them taking it hard means they’re going to show up and play for the playoffs because it’s not going to be easy for us to steal two games.”
The club is in Red Deer next weekend for the first round of the AFHL post-season, taking on the Sutter Fund Chiefs in a two-game total points series, with both games on the road.
The Steelers finished 5-1 against the Chiefs this season, outscoring them 15-7 in those games but the Steelers coach is discarding those glowing numbers.
“They’re a tough team and they’re going to play us hard and we have to answer the bell,” Morrissette said.
Unfortunately for the Steelers, both games are on the road where they have a 2-12-1 this year. They were outscored 50-17 away from the Servus Centre.
“We haven’t been that good on the road,” Morrissette said. “Part of it’s our game prep and getting ready to play. I know the girls get focused to play at home and that focus has to be ready to go on the road.”
Jenna Plamondon and Myah Mindus scored for the Steelers. Reid stopped 27 shots in the loss.

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