Craig With three games left in the regular season for the Craig Puck Ewes women's hockey team, goalie Kandice Torno said positioning itself for the playoffs is at the top of her team's to-do list.
The Ewes faced off against the Glenwood Springs Ice Queens in a weekend home-and-home set.
On Saturday, the Puck Ewes defeated the visiting Ice Queens, 3-1, and on Sunday, the Ewes defeated host Glenwood Springs, 4-1.
The weekend sweep placed the Ewes at 11-7-1 overall and 8-3-1 in the Women's Association of Colorado Hockey's Mountain Division, good for a two-game lead ahead of second-place Steamboat Springs, with one regular season game remaining.
In Game 1, defenseman Shannon Young tallied her eighth goal of the season to open the scoring for the Ewes less than four minutes into the contest.
The Ice Queens tied the game late in the first period when a Glenwood player scored from her knees past Torno.
"We had a defensive blip in front of our net," Torno said. "The puck was sitting dangerously in front of our net, and it trickled on to the waiting stick of an Ice Queen player who scored from her knees. She rammed it past me on my stick side."
After a scoreless second period, Young scored her second goal of the game - and team-leading ninth of the season - to place the Ewes on top for good.
Forward Terri Jourgensen closed out the scoring for Craig with about six minutes remaining in regulation.
"It was sloppy, but this late in the year, wins are important going into the tournament," Torno said.
In Sunday's game, Torno said, "everybody tightened it up."
"Everybody played well (by position), they talked on the ice a lot more and we had better communication," she said. "We had better passing. All that kind of stuff."
Craig won the game, 4-1, behind a first-period power play goal by center Annie Abdella, a first-period wrister by Gayle Criswell and two second-period goals by winger Lani Cleverly.
Trailing, 2-0, in the first period, the Ice Queens took advantage of a defensive miscue by Torno, who was caught out of position.
"I was in the wrong place," Torno said. "And they squeaked one by me."
Craig pushed the one-goal lead to three in the second period, behind Cleverly's two goals.
Cleverly "has kind of been in a drought," Torno said. "It was good to see her get some goals."
The Puck Ewes limited the Ice Queens to five shots in a scoreless third period.
"I think this is a confidence builder for us," Torno said about the two-game sweep. "We hadn't won in three or four games. We were kind of in a losing streak. This shows we can still score goals and that we are still a good team."
The two-time defending WACH champions travel Friday to face the Eagle Valley Divas in the team's last regular season game.
"Eagle is a tough team," Torno said. "It's going to be a tough game."
John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or firstname.lastname@example.org