Three Ponoka bantam Warriors converge on the Olds net in search of a rebound in the opening minutes of their provincial playoff Jan. 29. Ponoka lost the contest 2-0 to loss the series by one goal. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Ponoka’s road to provincials plucked with potholes

Female Warriors edged out in opening round

Both Lacoka Warriors teams will not advance past the first round of their respective provincial playdowns.

The midget Warriors are out of the Female Midget B provincial picture following a devastating loss in Red Deer on Jan. 29.

The Warriors went into the second game of the two-game, total goal series with the advantage after hanging on for 2-1 win on home ice Jan. 23.

However, the speed and relentless offence of Red Deer was too much as the Warriors fell 6-4 to lose the series by a single goal. Red Deer now awaits the winner of the series between a pair of teams from Okotoks.

Unfortunately, the bantam Warriors suffered a similar fate in their Female Bantam A opening round series.

The Warriors went to Olds on Jan. 28 and came away with a 4-3 victory, only to see that disappear at home the very next night. However, on Jan. 29 Olds shut out the Warriors 2-0 to take the series by one goal.

Olds will face 3C’s in the second round.

Atom play

Meanwhile, one of Ponoka’s atom teams has advanced to the second round.

The atom McDonalds squad moved on in the Atom B zone playoffs after getting by Sylvan Lake by a goal. Ponoka fell 4-3 on home ice Jan. 20 before coming back to win on the road 4-2. The club will now face Bentley, who got a first round bye. That series begins in Ponoka on Feb. 10 (game time 6 p.m.) and finishes up Feb. 12 in Bentley.

The atom Vantage Physio club were cut from the Atom C zone playoffs in a tough game on home ice.

Ponoka managed a 6-5 win Jan. 26 on the road in Thorsby before falling 8-5 Feb. 2 to lose the series by two goals. Thorsby will now take on Blackfalds.

As for Ponoka’s peewee and midget teams, they will need to either win their respective league championship or be selected as a wildcard entry if they hope to bring home a provincial banner.

Hockey Alberta ran a pilot project last season in the peewee division and last spring formally changed the bantam and midget format for this season.

The change eliminated the zone playoff structure as well as replaced the former categories with four tiers, with the winners of the six leagues in the province— in each of those tiers — earning a spot at the championship. Each tournament will also have a host team and a wildcard that would be selected by a committee.

All of the four peewee and midget provincial tournaments will run Mar. 26 to 28. If either of Ponoka’s teams qualify the peewee club would then play in Lacombe (Tier 4), while the midgets (Tier 3) would play in Grimshaw.

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Karlee Feragen lets this shot fly toward the Olds goal during action in the first period of their provincial playoff game Jan. 29. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

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