The Chix with Stix hockey team has a lot to be optimistic about.
This past weekend marked the return of two veteran players, Renee Dupre and Heidi Chapman-Hoy. After taking the first half of the season off for maternity leave, Dupre and Chapman-Hoy added a spark to the lineup this weekend against Westminster's Synergy.
"It's the first time in three years we've had three solid lines on offense," Chapman-Hoy said.
"It's just so much fun to play like that," defenseman Diane Dwire added.
The game also matched the Chix with their first out-of-division opponent and split the series with a 3-1 loss Friday night and a 3-0 win Saturday morning.
Splitting the weekend with the Synergy provided the Chix with more perspective about where they fit in the WACH league. The two games bring the team's overall record to 5-3-2 (4-2-2 in division).
The Chix erupted onto the ice Friday night only to be shaken by a Synergy goal less than two minutes into the game. Synergy forward Tammy Taylor shot wide and the puck deflected off the skate of Chix defender Carly Helm.
Chix goalie Nikki Knoebel faced 20 shots and came up with big saves throughout the game, including a spectacular second period one-on-one kick save.
In the third period, forward Holly Curtiss added the Chix's only goal of the night.
"There were two things that cost us the game - one was line changes and second was turnovers," coach Tim Shorland said. "Both the last two goals were direct results of bad passes."
Both teams emerged rested and ready in Saturday morning's game and this time it was the Chix on top, out-shooting the Synergy, 29 to 21.
Midway through the first period after controlling the puck in her zone, Chix forward Renee Dupre passed to Carly Helm on the point. Helm found Cathy Wiedemer open on a backdoor cut for a score. Dupre and Wiedemer teamed up again in the second period when Wiedemer put the Chix ahead 2-0. Curtiss added the Chix's third goal with 4:56 left in the third period.
"The best thing about this weekend was consistency," Shorland said. "The key to being a great team is consistency."
This weekend, Chix with Stix travel to Denver to face the Denver Bandits from the A1 division on Friday night. They also will face division rivals The Clash on Saturday night.