The past weekend was the OWHA provincial tournament in the
GTA. We had 4 teams that qualified to participate in provincials, the Novice C,
Bantam C, Bantam B and Midget C teams. While all of the teams played well and
represented our girls program well the Novice team was able to come away from the
weekend as Gold Medalists.
The novice team, led by their coach Scott Meyer, entered the weekend looking at a round robin schedule of the Toronto Leaside Wildcats and Sault Ste. Marie Wildcats on Friday and the Chatham Outlaws Saturday at noon.
They were able to take care of the Wildcats of Toronto in the Friday morning game with a score of 3-0. Later on Friday afternoon they were to take on the Wildcats again, this time they were from Sault Ste. Marie. They managed to come out on top of this game with a 9-0 win.
This setup a big matchup at noon on Saturday against the Outlaws of Chatham for first place in their pool. (Chatham had beat the Sault Ste. Marie team and tied the Toronto team). A tie or a win would secure the novice team first place in the pool and home ice advantage for the quarterfinal game. The girls were up to the task and played an outstanding game. The team, led by stellar goaltending and superb defence, was able to skate off of the ice in first place in pool A with a third straight shutout in a 0-0 tie.
This setup a quarterfinal matchup against the Waterloo Ravens who had finished their round robin play with a 2 and 1 record. This was another closely contested game where both teams were pretty evenly matched but in the end the Ice Stars were able to pull out a 3-0 victory after scoring an empty net goal. This would allow the girls to move on to the semi-final game Sunday morning and secure a spot in at least the bronze medal game.
The semi-final game pitted the team against a team just a short drive away down Highway 4 – the Lucan Irish. The Irish would prove to be no match for the girls as they could now start to see the end in sight. They were able to make the Irish play in the bronze medal game by defeating them 4-0.
The table was now set for a showdown with a familiar foe – the Sabres of South Huron. Including the WOGHL finals the 2 teams had met up 7 times. The record against the Sabres was 2 wins, 4 losses and 1 tie. In fact, the Ice Stars had just beat the Sabres the week before in the WOGHL finals for their 2 wins. It was very apparent before the game that the Sabres players and their fans in the stands were ready to avenge those losses. As the teams took to the ice the fans in the stands proudly cheered on both teams, I think that everybody watching was happy that the gold medals would be returning to Huron County, but there were differing opinions about whether the banner would hang in the southern part of the county or further north.
From the opening faceoff the action would be fast and furious with scoring chances at both ends of the ice. The ice Stars were able to get on the board first about 5 minutes into the game after a mad scramble in front of the Sabre net. Their goalie was up to the task stopping the first couple of chances but when the puck squirted out the Ice Star winger was able to bury it in the back of the net just outside of the reach of the goalie. The way this team had been playing over the weekend and in the WOGHL finals one might think that 1 goal would be enough to win this game. However, the Ice Star fans wanted more just to help take the edge off a little bit. The girls granted that wish about a minute later on a rush up the ice when the center was able to sneak one past the goalie on the far side and just inside the post. The Ice Star fans were cheering once again with a 2-0 lead under their belts. For the rest of the game the girls executed the game plan perfectly. The wingers were not letting the Sabre players get going with the puck very often but when they did the centers were back checking and the defense were making sure that the Sabre players were not getting quality shots on their goalie. On the odd occasion that they did get a shot our goalie held the fort and would not let a puck get past her.
The clock seemed like it was moving very slow and the amount of time it took to play the remainder of the game took forever. Late in the third period the fans knew that the Sabres girls would be coming hard at the Ice Stars and the girls on the ice didn’t disappoint. The Sabres continued to drive at the net and the Ice Stars continued to thwart their attacks. Finally with just over a minute left in the game the Sabres were able to put the puck in the Ice Star net. But wait, the referee comes in right away and he waves the goal off for goalie interference. The Sabres came close there but that is as close as they would get, the Ice Stars would hold on for the last minute of the game for a 2-0 win and the gold medal.
Their record for the weekend was 5-0-1 and they scored 21 goals while giving up 0.
This team had players from all over the county it seemed and they all came together and played great as a team when it counted. Congratulations to the Novice C Ice Stars on winning their gold medal.