A bad line change by Martingrove led to the equalizing goal for Northern Red Knights in South Region hockey action Feb. 14.
Down 2-1 to the Bears, Northern’s Alex Rodriguez robbed a Martingrove defender of the puck and roofed it on goalie Kate Teekasingh.
With that momentum, the ladies would add one more on the power play from Andree Heller, winning their last regular season match 3-2.
Still, the Red Knights should have never lagged behind Martingrove, coach Frank De Leo said.
“We played sloppy in the beginning and defensively we gave it away,” he said. “We weren’t as strong as we’ve been for the last two games.”
At times De Leo’s charges were hesitant to fire the puck on the net, weaving through traffic to pass off to the wings.
Heller acknowledged her crew’s reluctance to snap away.
“That’s always a big thing with our team,” she said. “We just have to get more shots on net and eventually they will go in.”
Shooting on net gets goals, as was evident in Heller’s game winner, set up by Steph Nanos and Devon Moir.
“It was a nice pass from Devon, and Mr. De Leo put me on defence, which is a little bit strange,” Heller said. “Put the shot on net, if it doesn’t go in, get the rebound.”
Though she came out on the losing end, Martingrove’s Teekasingh was lauded for her stalwart netminding by her coach, Ahsan Bukhari.
With only 10 skaters at his disposal, the Bears loss was not by a lack of tenacity but more running on empty.
“We tried to go down to three D, and they got a little tired,” Bukhari said. “I think (Northern) worked a little harder out there.”
Also chipping in with a strong game were Emily Collins and Catherine Chong.
Performing at their apex for Northern were Heller and Rose Duncan. Also, Ellen Stevens was quietly efficient on the blueline, forcing turnovers and breaking up potential breakaways.
Finishing with a 6-1 record, Northern’s next crusade will be the South Region quarter-final playoffs where they earned themselves the top seed.
If the ladies play like they did in their third period against Martingrove, there should be no concerns, De Leo said.
“Hopefully we can come out with our best effort and improve for the playoffs,” he said.
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