Over the weekend of February 18-20th the Minnesota Whitecaps travelled to Edmonton to take on the Chimos in a three game series. A couple weeks after clinching the Western Women’s Hockey League (WWHL) title and securing a spot in the 2011 Clarkson Cup playoffs, the Whitecaps saw their 15 game winning streak come to an end. The Whitecaps battled hard but came up on the short end of a 3-2 overtime loss. The game started out slow with the Chimos scoring in the middle of the first period, and that was about all of the action for two periods. In the third period the game started to get interesting as the Whitecaps came to life. In the middle of the period Allie Thunstrom took a penalty. After successfully killing the penalty Thunstrom jumped out of the box and was wide open as Meaghan Pezon hit her with a breakaway pass. Thunstrom faked backhand and slipped the puck forehand past the Chimos goalie, making it 1-1. The Chimos were the next to strike, when they got the puck past Whitecaps goaltender Megan Van Beusekom-Sweerin late in the third period. Fortunately for the Whitecaps Winny Brodt-Brown struck back. After a scrum on the sideboards Jenny Potter gathered a loose puck near the blue line and fed Winny Brodt-Brown across the ice. With lots of commotion in front of the net Winny Brodt-Brown took a simple wrist shot that found its way between the arms of the Chimos goalie for a 2-2 tie. After the late game tying goal, the Whitecaps and Chimos were headed into overtime for the second time this season. Unlike the game at Pagel Ice Arena in Minnetonka Minnesota the Chimos came out on the winning end of this overtime after a three on two rush ended up in the back of the Whitecaps net. Likely for the Whitecaps they had two more games during the series to get back at the Chimos.
Game two on Saturday was played at the Leduc Rec Center and saw a similar type game, with skill and passion being put on display to entertain the large Leduc crowd. Much like the first game the Chimos struck first. Unlike the first game, the Whitecaps were quick to respond. After putting on tons of pressure in the offensive zone Jenny Potter threw a shot at the net. After deflecting off everything in its way, the puck found bounced off a Chimos defender and into the back of the net. Earning assists on the play were Allie Thunstrom and Sammy Nixon. The game didn’t stay tied 1-1 long, and shortly before the end of the second period the Whitecaps continued to apply pressure on the Chimos defense, resulting in the game winning goal scored by Whitecaps Amy Stech. Megan McCarthy fed the puck to Gigi Marvin who put a hard shot on net. The rebound came right to Amy Stech’s stick and she made no mistake putting the rebound into the upper corner. The game would end in a 2-1 win for the Whitecaps, with both goalies Megan Van Beusekom-Sweerin and Sanya Sandahl splitting time in the net.
After game two the Whitecaps enjoyed a night out as they celebrated winning the WWHL for the second year in a row. Shortly after dinner the Whitecaps found out they would not be returning to Minnesota as planned. The snow storm of Presidents day prevented them from returning home. The Whitecaps were stuck in Canada! Before they could figure out how they were going to get home the players needed to get to bed because they have a game bright and early the next day. The reality of being stuck in Edmonton for one more day would feel a lot better after a win!
Seven o’clock the next morning came really early, but the Whitecaps were ready to go. For the first time all weekend the Whitecaps struck first. Gigi Marvin caught a beautiful pass from Kelli Blankenship and dangled around a defender putting the puck top shelf. The lead held up until half way through the second period when the Chimos finally got their first goal of the weekend on Sanya Sandahl. The tied 1-1 game was short lived as Jenny Potter fought her way through every hook, slash, and trip the Chimos could throw at her. Before finally being brought down Jenny Potter found Meaghan Pezon in the slot and she put the puck over the goalies glove giving the Whitecaps the lead for good. Sanya Sandahl stood tall as the Chimos pulled their goalie, and the Whitecaps concluded the weekend with a 2 – 1 record. It is on to the Clarkson Cup Finals for the Whitecaps if they can find a way home from Canada.
Back at the hotel the Whitecaps got a call saying they would be retuning the United States 24 hours later then they had originally planned! The Whitecaps took that extra time to go to the West Edmonton mall. At the mall they took in an Atom (nine and ten year olds) hockey game between Edmonton and Strathmore, before going to the movies! The extra time in Canada was worth it. It was a great trip!
The Whitecaps will be heading back to Canada on March 23rd for a road trip to Toronto for the Clarkson Cup Finals which will be held March 24th through the 27th! The Whitecaps are the defending Clarkson Cup champions and look to bring the Cup home for the second time in two years!
Come cheer on the Whitecaps before the Clarkson Cup Finals at the 2011 Lets Play Hockey Expo at the River Center in St. Paul. Come get autographed player cards from some of your favorite players, take some pictures with them, and get to see the cup! Looking forward to seeing you all there!