Game 4 of an opening round best-of-five playoff series with the Regina Rebels spelled the end of the Diamond Energy Female Midget AAA Wildcats season.
The Wildcats lost 3-2 in double-overtime while getting out-shot 49-26, but they didn't go down without a fight.
After the first period passed by scoreless, Regina jumped out to an early lead in the second period with goals at the 16:31 and 15:05 marks of the frame.
But, rookie forward Baylee Kirwan cut the deficit in half on a pass from Carissa Hogan, taking a one-goal game into the second intermission.
"When we got that goal to make it 2-1, I think that started to give us some momentum," said Wildcats head coach Terry Pavely. "That's where we played well - I thought the third period was by far our best period. It was more of an even period. We just said we've got to play our way if we want to win a hockey game, and I thought we did a much better job of that."
The Wildcats and Rebels traded scoring chances in the third, but neither netminder could be solved through the first 18 minutes of the period.
Then, after calling a timeout and with the net empty, the Wildcats used passes from Taylor Lind and Taylor Kirwan to set up Hogan in front of the net for the game-tying goal - just 1:34 remained in regulation.
A 10-minute overtime period passed without a game-winning-goal, forcing a 20-minute second extra frame.
The clock struck midnight midway through the second overtime period, preventing a possible comeback win in the game to force a series-deciding Game 5.
With 10:25 on the clock, Lauren Focht scored her fourth of the playoffs to send the Rebels to the second round, and a matchup with the league-best Saskatoon Stars.
"In overtime we got a little sloppy with our details - we had three shifts in a row that we had a bad line change and on the winning goal we made a bad line change," said Pavely. " We get out-numbered eventually down low, and unfortunately they got a pretty good player in the slot that you don't want to give the puck to, and she buried it."
Chantel Weller made 24 saves in the win for Regina, while a stout Giraudier stopped 46 pucks between the pipes for Swift Current.
"Well we weren't good enough, bottom line," Pavely admitted. "I'll give our kids a lot of credit, we battled until the end, got that late goal with our goalie pulled, but you can't get out-shot like that and expect to win - it's just asking way too much of our goaltender."
The Wildcats are set to graduate a solid core of veteran leaders.
Defencemen and team captain Taylor Kirwan, defenceman and alternate captain Tenelle Lind, defenceman Toni Theaker, and forward Brooklyn Colborn all played their final game in a Wildcats uniform.
Their head coach recognized the hard work and dedication by the veteran leaders as the curtain closed on their SFMAAAHL career.
Kirwan's career ends with 66 (24 G, 42 A) regular season points in 105 games, spread over parts of five seasons. The Gull Lake-product added 19 points (8 G, 11 A) in 28 post-season contests.
The Shaunavon-born Lind played three seasons with the Wildcats, contributing 19 points (6 G, 13 A) over 82 regular season games.
Theaker logged two full seasons in the blue, black, and white of the Wildcats. Along with three games of a third season, the Eatonia-product added a similar 19-point effort. Over 58 regular season games, she scored three goals and added 16 assists.
The lone graduating forward also polished off her third-and-final Wildcats season with her highest scoring output. The Delisle-born Colborn had 17 (6 G, 11 A) of her 24 career points (11 G, 13 A) this season. She played 84 regular season contests.
A short break for the Wildcats is on the schedule before the 2018-19 campaign gets underway.
"Probably for coaches we'll take a few days, don't think about hockey, and then we've got to start finding hockey players for next year - it's really never a break, just kind of keep at it year-round."
The Wildcats will be hosting a prospects camp and a spring camp for eligible players April 14-15 at Fairview arenas.