Lady Panthers advance to playoffs, to take on Basalt Longhorns Wednesday | SkyHiNews.com

Lady Panthers advance to playoffs, to take on Basalt Longhorns Wednesday

Junior Caitlin Davis boxes out a DSST: Stapleton player during a 3-1 loss on Wednesday, March 21.

The Lady Panther's seven-game-winning streak was snapped late last week after losing a pair of games to the Roaring Fork Rams, 2-0, and the Aspen Skiers, 2-0. Still, the Panthers are playoff bound after an impressive regular season that saw them go 9-6 and finish second in the 3A Region 8 standings.

The Panthers came back down to earth on Thursday following a seven game winning streak that saw them outscore opponents 50-6. The loss to Roaring Fork was the first time Middle Park tasted defeat since April 11, and the first time all season they got shutout.

Senior Kiera Barr got the nod in goal, allowing two goals and making nine saves. Regardless of the decent performance, the Panther offense struggled to get anything going against Rams' Keeper Junior Odalis Concuera, who saved all nine of the Panthers' shots on goal.

Barr returned to goalie for the match up against Aspen, but despite a huge 16 save game, the results were largely the same. Middle Park managed just three shots on goal against the Skiers, all three of which were saved by Aspen Keeper Sophomore Ella Trane.

A dominant team at times, the Panthers are limping into the playoffs on the back of two straight losses, and will enter as the 14th seed. They'll play the 19th seeded Basalt Longhorns at home in the first round. The Longhorns are 10-4-1 on the year, and coming off of a win against Roaring Fork, but on paper it seems like a relatively even matchup.

The Panthers and Longhorns are almost dead even in terms of goals scored this season (66 and 68 respectively), as well as goals allowed (25, 28). And while the Panthers have been better at home this season (5-3), the Longhorns have thrived on the road (5-2).

What's troubling is Basalt's record against common opponents this season. The Longhorns are 4-1 against SkyView Academy, Aspen and Roaring Fork, while the Panthers are 0-3.

The key for Middle Park will be focusing in on Basalt's star players, Sophomore Emma Day and Freshmen Delaney Card. Day and Card pace the Longhorns in goals with 20 apiece, and both are averaging more than 3 points-per-game.

It will also be important for the Panthers to start fast. The Longhorns average more than three goals-per-game in the first half of games this season, but only 1.4 in the second.

The game will take place on May 9 at 4:30 at Middle Park High School. The winner will take on the third seeded Kent Denver Sun Devils in the second round.