The 2019 SWHL Finals will be a rematch from a couple years ago as the Macklin Mohawks and Wilkie Outlaws will meet for a shot at the title.
Macklin is off to the finals after winning Game 5 against the Sr. Klippers 2-1 last night in Kindersley, taking the series 3-2. The Mohawks were able to stop a comeback attempt similar to last year's semifinal between the former Red Lions after Kindersley had won Game 3 on March 3rd and Game 4 on the 9th.
Game 4 in Macklin was an affair that went down to the wire at the Communiplex following blowout victories in the two previous games between the Mohawks and Klippers. The Mohawks held a third period lead into the dying seconds of regulation, before Jesse Ismond powered a wrist shot past Mohawks netminder Nathan Hargrave with 9.3 seconds on the clock, tying the game at 3-3.
In the first overtime there was under a minute remaining when officials called a penalty shot for the Klippers following a pile up of Mohawks players in the Macklin net on a Kindersley scoring chance. Shayne Neigum, who was denied a goal on the sequence, converted the penalty shot past Hargrave to secure a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 4 for Kindersley. Luke Sproule stopped 49 shots in the win for Kindersley.
WIth the series locked at 2-2, the winner of Game 5 from the West Central Events Centre would advance to the championship series.
Plenty of shots were taken by both teams in the first frame; 15 each to be exact. But the score stayed at zeros after the opening 20 minutes in a must-win game for the two squads.
The scoring eventually began in the second where a shot from Byron Ismond was tipped in by forward Troy Boisjoli in front of the net, giving the Klippers a 1-0 lead near the halfway point of the period.
Over seven minutes later, the Mohawks went on the power play through a tripping call by Shayne Neigum. The end result was a deflection by Macklin captain Cody McKinnon, who found the back of the net for the first time since Game 2 of the series to tie things up 1-1 heading into the second intermission.
The Klippers were presented with golden scoring opportunities near the start of the third period, but missed chances had the game stay at 1 goal a piece until seven minutes into the period. That's where the Mohawks found the breakthrough.
On a counter attack, Spencer Bast of the Mohawks rushed up the ice after taking a pass from teammate Bran Hillis. A Klipper defenceman in his path didn't matter for the winger as he sniped a shot past Sproule's glove, throwing on the goal light and finding Macklin's first lead of the game at 2-1.
Even though the Klippers went on the man advantage in the final minute of the regulation from a boarding major against Mohawks forward Brad Buckingham, the home side was unable to come up with the same heroics they found on Saturday night in Macklin. The Mohawks held off Kindersley's comeback attempt this time and came away with a 2-1 win, capturing the semifinal series 3-2 and clinching a spot in this year's championship round.
The Mohawks will match up with the Outlaws after Wilkie stormed through with three wins in a row to win their semifinal over the Unity Miners 3-1. It's a repeat from the 2017 SWHL Finals which saw the Outlaws sweep the Mohawks in three games. During the 2018-2019 season, the Outlaws won the season series over Macklin three games to one.
Wilkie is aiming to keep the SWHL championship in their community for a fifth consecutive winter. Macklin, on ther other hand, has not won the trophy since the 2012 playoffs when they defeated the Kindersley Red Lions to become league champions.
Dates have not yet been confirmed for the 2019 Finals.