Sports High School Sports

A season-ending sting

By Aaron Wilgosh, The Graphic

The PCI Saints were eliminated from the WWHSHL CTV Division playoffs when they lost 2-1 to the St. Mary's Flames in overtime in Game 2 of the best-of-three series. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

The PCI Saints were eliminated from the WWHSHL CTV Division playoffs when they lost 2-1 to the St. Mary's Flames in overtime in Game 2 of the best-of-three series. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

In the end the Flames were too intense for the girls.

Portage Collegiate Institute was eliminated from the Winnipeg Women’s High School Hockey League playoffs Thursday night when the ladies fell 2-1 in overtime to the first place St. Mary’s Flames to fall 2-0 in the best-of-three quarterfinal series.

“The Flames controlled a lot of the play and they are a lot stronger than us in a few areas but the heart and determination we showed was incredible,” says Saints head coach, Jo-Anne Clark-Gillespie. “You don’t have to have a team full of talent to work hard and do well and we showed that. We were right there with the top team in the league, four times this season, and we’re really proud of what they’ve done this season.”

The Saints were trailing 1-0 after the first period, but weren’t completely outplayed as they managed to tie the Flames in shots on net with nine. The Saints scored with just over five to go in the final period when Tryniti Mercier found twine thanks to passes from Natasha Rosset and Madison Ballantyne. 

An overtime period was needed, and with just a minute left before a shootout, the Flames ended the Saints’ season. A missed call at the Saints' blue line led to a St. Mary’s breakaway and Flames’ forward Julianna Duma made no mistake beating PCI’s Morgan Klassen over the glove to end the series.

“We’ve been so impressed with the work ethic the girls showed this year,” says Clark Gillespie. “I haven’t had as many fully attended practices as I did this year, and it would’ve been nice to get some bounces and get the win today so the girls’ hard work would be rewarded. It was a special season and I’m sad to see it come to a close.”

The Saints won their opening playoff series over River East in two games after finishing in eighth place in the CTV or ‘A’ Division standings. Clark-Gillespie adds it’s always tough coaching high school because of the relationships you build with the players, and two lengthy vets will be leaving this season. Grade 12 three-year defender and captain Kiera Shwaluk and four year veteran goaltender Morgan Klassen.


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