The regular season is finished and the Cochrane Chaos are gearing up for a potentially long run in the Alberta Junior Female Hockey League (AJFHL) playoffs.
The Chaos finished the season in first place of the North Division with a record of 24-4 after winning their final game against the Calgary Warriors on Feb. 23 and started the playoffs against those very same Warriors on Feb. 25.
Cochrane was able to lock down the league’s top seed, giving them home ice advantage after an 8-1 victory over the visiting Calgary team in both teams’ final meeting before the playoffs. The score was only 1-0 in favour of the Chaos after the first period, until the second and third periods when the home side blew the game open with seven goals and 84 shots at the Warriors’ goaltender.
Breanna Martin and Karly Dwyer led the way offensively for the Chaos. Martin had two goals and two assists while Dwyer chipped in with two goals of her own. Kiera Davidson, Kyla Kruger, Jenna Wasylik and Brette Matheson also scored in the contest. Jenna Weseen continued her stellar play, making 21 saves in the game. Weseen’s final stat line for the season has her posting an 11-2 record, four shut outs and a 2.16 goals-against-average. Megan Parkyn was also nearly unbeatable this season, going 12-2 with a 1.03 goals-against-average and five shutouts.
“We have had excellent goaltending from both Megan and Jenna this year, with both showing they are able to steal a game if needed,” Chaos head coach Derek Loomer said.
“Our players have great confidence in both of them and it allows us to take chances if needed because, as a team, we know they’ll be there to bail us out.”
Both teams had a day off before Game 1 of the first round best-of-three playoff series. The game started off as a scoreless tie after the first period, but the Chaos came out firing in the final two stanzas, scoring two in the second and four in the third, en route to a 6-1 victory. Cochrane’s forwards were all over the ice, scoring all six of the team’s goals, which was highlighted by Kiera Davidson’s two-goal performance. Audrey Buston, Karly Dwyer, Breanna Martin and Melanie Scholz also scored for the victors and Ciara McDonald tallied two assists.
Megan Parkyn wasn’t tested often, but stopped 14 of the 15 shots she was faced with.
Loomer was pleased with how his team played in the opening game of the playoffs and hopes his group will continue the successful trend moving forward into the remainder of the series.
“I thought we had a bit of rust in the game on Friday (Feb. 23) but played a really solid game on Sunday (Feb. 25) to kick off the playoffs,” Loomer said.
“With that being said, I still think we have another gear we could tap into now that we’re playing elimination games.”
The Chaos bench boss also said he expects the Warriors to have a bounce-back game after being outscored by Cochrane 14-2 in the last two meetings.
“I would expect them to play as hard as they can with their backs against the wall,” Loomer said.
“We will have to play our best if we want to end their season – it is always tough to close out a series because the other team doesn’t want it to be their last game.”
Game 2 will go March 2 in Cochrane at Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre, due to the Warriors not being able to secure ice time at the Fairview Arena. If a Game 3 is necessary, it will take place the following day, once again in Cochrane.