Lacombe Edge prep for provincials
Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe Bridget O'Muir, right, of the Lacombe Edge U14 team battles with her Lacombe Edge U16 counterpart during a game Tuesday night at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex. The game was designed to prep both teams for their respective playoff tournaments. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
The Lacombe Edge U14 ringette team fell 8-2 to their U16 counterparts on Tuesday night in a game designed to prepare them for their upcoming provincial tournament next weekend.
The U14 team dominated during the course of the regular season, taking gold at Silver Ring in Edmonton, and in tournaments at home and in Spruce Grove, as well as silver in Beaumont en route to becoming Black Gold League champions. The defeat to the older U16 team in what was essentially a practice game, however, might’ve provided the challenge they needed before heading to provincials.
“One of the areas we’re weak on is we’re not passing quick enough,” said team manager Karol Warner. “That’s why we wanted to play a faster team, because it’ll force our girls to pass a little quicker. We’ve been playing weaker teams, so they’ve gotten a little lazy.”
Against the U16 team, who were also league champions this year, however, the U14 Edge did learn to pass a little faster - or found the ring picked off their stick and in the back of their net.
While the score and shots were lopsided - 48-13 against - the hope is that games will lean in their favour when they return to playing their own age group and defend the 2017 provincial title March 16-18 in Sherwood Park.
Although there’s room to improve on the passing front, there’s no denying the U14 team has had tremendous success not only this season, but in the last few. Warner attributes their success to experience.
“Every girl on our U14 team this year won provincials last year, either with U14 or with U12,” she said. “They have history playing together. Because we’re a smaller association, they get used to each other.”
There’s even more experience behind the bench, with Shauna Smith, a former Lacombe ringette player herself, and Sherri O’Muir, who has gone to nationals, coaching. Occasional help is also provided by some of the Team Canada ringette players, including Jamie and Dailyn Bell.
“They have a lot of knowledge of plays and systems,” said Warner. “Sometimes the other teams can't follow them. That's having experienced coaches that have played.
“Other teams have hockey coaches coaching ringette, but they don't necessarily understand that part of the game. Ringette is really nothing like hockey other than being on ice.”
The U16 team will head to provincials this weekend, March 9-11, in St. Albert, where they’ll aim to bring home another gold to add to those won at tournaments in Cochrane and Lacombe, as well as their league title.
The U19 team were also crowned Black Gold League champions, and will enter their second round of playdowns this weekend in a bid for a spot at provincials. Down to about eight regular players due to injury, and without their U16 affiliates this weekend due to their own provincial tournament, the team will be in tough with a shortened bench.
Younger Edge teams have had success as well, including the U10-3 team, which secured bronze in Airdrie last weekend. While they’re not at the age level for playoffs, they will head to league championships this weekend.
While the ringette season is nearing its end, the Lacombe Ringette Association is already working towards another successful season in 2018-2019, as well as growing the game within the community.
Those four years of age and older as of Dec. 31, 2018 are invited to “Come Try Ringette-Lacombe” on March 13 at 4:45 p.m. at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex.
The event is free to attend. Sticks and rings will be provided, but skaters are asked to bring their own skates and helmets.
For more information, visit ww.lacomberingette.ca or the even Facebook page @cometryringettelacombe.