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AA hockey teams fighting for consistency

Ten games into the 2019-20 season, the Airdrie Lightning AA midget girls’ hockey team is at the bottom of its division in the Alberta Female Hockey League’s (AFHL) Midget Elite league.

But there's still plenty to be positive about, according to head coach Shayla Katrick.

"We've been coming together more as a team, and they're finding out how each other plays, and how to play with that person," she said. "They're starting to come together as one, and it's nice to see."

More than a third of the way through the 2019-20 campaign, he Lightning has a 3-7 record, putting it five points adrift of the fifth-place Rocky Mountain Raiders in the league’s south division.

The team’s most recent outing was positive, however, as Airdrie defeated the third-place Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs in a shootout, following a 3-3 tie.

Katrick, who joined the Lightning coaching staff this year, said the shootout win over the Chiefs was a season highlight.

"I've never heard them cheer so loud before," she said. "It was great."

Goals have been hard to come by for the Lightning, which has been kept scoreless in five of its 10 fixtures this season. The team’s top scorer is 16-year-old Emily Biggin, with three goals and four points.

The Lightning will be back at home Dec. 7 to face the Southern Express. The game will start at 1:30 p.m. at the Genesis Place Recreation Centre. According to Katrick, the team's focus will be on effort, speed and playing as a team.

"Whatever we're doing right now is working for us, which is nice to see, because it was getting frustrated for a bit, there," Katrick said. "It's definitely a growing year, and I knew that coming into it. But in the next couple of years, I don't see why we can't be one of the dominant teams in the league."

On the boys' side, the midget AA Lightning is in a similar state of inconsistency, with a 5-9-1 record that puts it in fifth place of the North Conference of the South Central Alberta Hockey League (SCAHL).

The Lightning suffered a heavy defeat on home ice Nov. 30, going down 9-1 to the Calgary Royals Gold. Prior to that setback, on Nov. 24, the team bested the Bow Valley Timberwolves – the bottom team in the North Conference – 4-2.

Airdrie is three points back of the Olds Grizzlys and Central Alberta Selects, which each boast 14 points on the season.

The squad will look to get back to winning ways Dec. 6 with another home game against the Timberwolves. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Genesis Place Recreation Centre.



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Scott Strasser

About the Author: Scott Strasser

Scott Strasser, sports/RCMP reporter
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