Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by John Tonin

STRETCHING OUT - Team North goalie Megan Baliski stretches to make a save against Team B.C. during third period National Aboriginal Hockey Championship action Tuesday at Takhini Arena.

Team North drops opening game 3-1 to B.C.

The Team North girls’ team opened their tournament against Team British Colombia at the Takhini Arena on Tuesday afternoon.

By John Tonin on May 7, 2019

The Team North girls’ team opened their tournament against Team British Colombia at the Takhini Arena on Tuesday afternoon.

The team got on the board first but were unable to overcome B.C.'s two-goal second period en route to a 3-1 loss.

North assistant coach Candice MacEachen said the team showed a lot of positives as they head into their next game against Team Saskatchewan.

"Definitely a lot," said MacEachen. "Obviously shots weren't there but we're definitely pressuring them – they were coughing up the puck. We just need come in, get a good rest, good food. Come out rearing to play and giving it our all every shift.

"When we were flying and putting pressure on them, we were getting breakaways and getting lots of shots. Just keep shooting on them."

She believes the team will come out stronger against Saskatchewan.

"It's…3-1 is pretty amazing especially coming from the North," said MacEachen. "I'm happy and I know we can come out even stronger if we play up to our potential the entire game."

Now with a game under their belts, MacEachen said the team will have the nervousness out of their systems.

"It's always tough when you mix three of the territories together and even some of the players and each territory don't always play together," she said.

"It always takes a few games to get the groove and we only played one exhibition against the women so I think it's only going to get better and better each game."

In the first half of period one, the teams played even hockey and both had their opportunities in the offensive zone.

North got on the board first on the power play. Kyra McDonald corralled the loose puck off the face-off and drove in on B.C. goalie Tessa Sturgeon. McDonald slipped the puck five-hole to get North on the board; it was also the team's first goal of the tournament. The assist went to Charlotte Siksik.

With one second remaining in the period, B.C. knotted the game at one on the power play.

Zoe Leas was parked in the slot and received a cross-ice feed from Samantha Wiley. Leas made no mistake as she fired it past North keeper Megan Baliski. Charlotte Stanwood got the other assist.

The second period was dominated by B.C., and MacEachen said the late period goal was a little deflating.

"It's always tough with point-something of a second left," said MacEachen. "It's kind of hard to get into your groove for the next period. The big thing was just telling them to shake it off and come out flying.

"They bounced back, not the best second period, we had a couple bad bounces but the third period we got pumped up. Our elder came and talked to the girls and they got rid of all the bad vibes."

B.C. broke the deadlock at 12:42 of the second period. There was a scramble in front of Baliski and the puck popped out and was found by Jade Ridgewell, who found the back of the net for an unassisted goal.

The third B.C. goal was another scramble in front of the net. Baliski, unable to cover the puck after a shot from the left circle, kicked out a rebound which was tucked home by Janelle Sadler. The assists went to Page Beauregard and Stanwood.

The team's played even in the third period. Each had their chances but the goalies stood tall not allowing anything past.

MacEachen said the girls were pretty pumped to have a good start and she hopes that the team can carry that momentum forward.

The player of the game honours went to Leas and Baliski.

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