Thursday, 19 January 2012 08:56

Kennedy playing like a champ for Diamond Energy Wildcats

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By Brad Brown — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

When the going got tough, Jill Kennedy got going.

With the Swift Current Diamond Energy Wildcats in the midst of a seven-game winless skid, their alternate captain has played her best hockey of the season.

Since the Wildcats’ last win, Kennedy has scored nine goals (of 13 overall), two assists, and 18 penalty minutes (of 32 overall), and has at least a point in all seven games.

She was particularly dominant last Sunday at the Fairview West Arena, scoring both goals and playing physical away from the puck as the seventh-place Wildcats (4-19-1-0) rallied to salvage a 2-2 tie with the third-place Weyburn Gold Wings.

“The girls know that if you don’t play like that you don’t get the results, and it’s really nice to see everybody follow suit,” said Wildcats head coach Terry Pavely. “When you watched our lineup today, there were some kids that didn’t play well, but they played hard and that’s what we ask of our kids.

“We’re not all going to have our best game every night, but we all have to work hard. Our motto right now is that we can’t have ‘a’ hardest-working player. If we have one or two kids that are hardest working then we’re not going to be successful. The last few games we really haven’t been able to pick out one or two kids. It’s been a whole team effort.”

Kennedy surely didn’t envision a four-win season, particularly during her last year in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League.

She shrugs off any suggestion of frustration, instead crediting her recent outburst to some tweaks in her positioning.

“I think I’ve changed my game play a little bit,” she said. “I’m starting to take the puck to the net harder than I was before Christmas.”

If she is in fact feeling any frustration, it appears it’s all being taken out on her opponents anyway.

Kennedy is now ninth in the league for goals, eighth overall in penalty minutes, and is tied for the league lead with two shorthanded goals. She’s also got three power play markers and a game-winner on the season.

“It doesn’t matter who we put her with or who her linemates are,” said Pavely. “She’s one of those kids who doesn’t mope or pout. She doesn’t say ‘Oh no, I’m with those guys.’ She tries to make her linemates better. And if you do that, you get rewarded for having an attitude like that.”

The Wildcats travel to Melville for a pair of games this weekend, and close out their regular season Feb. 4 and 5 at home against the Prince Albert Bears.

“From here on out, we plan to win all of our games,” said Kennedy. “We really want to pass Melville, and to do that we need to win.”

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