As was the case last season, the top teams in the Western Conference were decided during the final weekend in Saskatoon. Going into the March 6th weekend, only Edmonton WAM! knew for sure that they would be going to the NRL Championship tournament in Charlottetown and Calgary RATH were favoured for second place needing only three points from the five games they would play in Saskatoon. With a very tight race for the remaining spot up for grabs, fans in Saskatoon were treated to an exciting weekend of ringette.
The weekend started with WAM! and RATH confident at the top of the standings, while Saskatoon Wild, Manitoba Jets and Winnipeg Prairie Fire began play knowing only one of the three would have a league championship berth at the end of the weekend. The Jets sat in third place with a three-point lead over both Wild and Prairie Fire, with five games to play. BC Reign were looking to salvage some pride after a difficult season.
Friday saw Saskatoon Wild defeating the Jets 6-5 in a shootout, moving Wild close to third. In the evening, Jets defeated BC Reign, while RATH took a shootout victory over Prairie Fire. On Saturday, Wild beat Reign and Jets lost to RATH, while Prairie Fire took two games from BC. Later that evening, Wild defeated RATH in a shootout and WAM! defeated a pesky Manitoba Jets 6-5.
Sunday began with the Jets at 21 points, Wild at 20 and Prairie Fire at 19 and many reviewing the league’s tie breaking rules. The Jets lost to RATH in the opening game of the day, while on the adjacent rink, Wild and Prairie Fire fought tooth and nail with Fire taking a 2-1 victory to jump into a tie with Jets for third. At this point, the Jets left Saskatoon not knowing whether to pack for Charlottetown or pack their gear for the season.
In a game against Prairie Fire and Calgary RATH, the Fire needed to pick up at least one point to earn third and the final berth. After a very spirited contest, the game went to a shootout, which was won by Prairie Fire. Goalie Elise Crocker stopped all 11 shooters in the shootout and Andrea Ferguson potted the winner. The weekend concluded with WAM! holding off Wild 7-6.
After a tight race and some great ringette, Edmonton WAM!, Calgary RATH and Prairie Fire will represent the West in Charlottetown.