The Antigonish Atom ‘A’ female Bulldogs are hosting the 2019 North Conference Atom playoffs March 8 to 10, with all games at the Antigonish Arena with exception of one of the semi-finals Sunday morning, which will take place at the Keating Centre.
“Hosting the tournament involves a lot of planning and work by our manager and parents, but it allows the girls to stay home and not have to worry about travel,” coach Greg Morrow said.
“Plus, there is the home-ice advantage factor. Our atom girls hosted this tournament two years ago and the Antigonish Arena was packed and very loud for the championship game, which they won in double overtime. It was very exciting; we hope a lot of people come out and give our girls a similar experience. They’ll have great memories for sure.”
Morrow said the girls, coming off a recent gold-medal performance at the Sweetheart Tournament in P.E.I., are ready to go and excited about the opportunity to advance.
“All season we’ve asked the girls to work hard and try their best to get better every practice, every game, every tournament,” he said. “I feel they have; they’re playing really good hockey right now and, hopefully, peaking at the right time. They won all three tournaments they entered and finished first in the regular season, but they've been waiting for this tournament all year. They’ll be tested this weekend and will need to be at their best.”
He talked about team strengths.
“The girls have two main strengths, their skating and passing. They play their best when they’re skating hard both ways and eliminating their opponents’ time and space.
“They also move the puck very well, which creates a lot of room for them, especially in the offensive zone. We have strong defence and goaltending, and we take a lot of pride in our overall defensive game. Those are some of the things we will be, and have been, focusing on leading up to playoffs.
The tournament is broken into two three-team divisions with Antigonish, Truro and Pictou in division one, and the Cape Breton Blizzards, Cape Breton West and the Strait making up division two.
Tournament schedule is as follows:
Friday, March 8
3:30 - 4:45 p.m. - Antigonish vs Cape Breton Blizzards
4:45 – 6 p.m. - Truro vs Cape Breton West
6 - 7:15 p.m. - Pictou vs Strait
Saturday, March 9
9:30 - 10:45 a.m. - Truro vs Cape Breton Blizzards
10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. - Antigonish vs Cape Breton West
12 - 1:15 p.m. - Truro vs Strait
1:15 - 2:30 p.m. - Pictou vs Cape Breton West
2:30 - 3:45 p.m. - Antigonish vs Strait
3:45 – 5 p.m. Cape Breton Blizzards vs Pictou
Sunday, March 10
10 - 11:30 a.m. – semi-final at Antigonish Arena
10 - 11:30 a.m. – semi-final at Keating Centre
1:30 - 3:30 p.m. - championship game