Lacombe’s ringette teams left little doubt this past weekend’s Ice Breaker Tournament was theirs as they medalled in six of eight finals Sunday.
The annual tournament put on by the Lacombe Ringette Association saw 32 teams from across Alberta, and a couple teams from Saskatchewan compete at both the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex and the Clive Arena, but the hometown teams were the most successful, capturing four gold and two silver.
Among those finishing with a gold medal was the U16 B Edge, who upset the Northwest Calgary Nitro 4-3 Sunday morning – a team that handed them an 8-4 loss in the round-robin.
“I think we were just a little flat on Friday. The team from Calgary has some really fast skaters and some really hard forecheckers and we just weren’t prepared for that. They had several breakaways, and we took some stupid penalties,” said Edge Head Coach Sherri O’Muir.
“We had a plan going in on what we needed to do to beat them and the girls executed, did what they were supposed to do and managed to win.”
The Edge controlled the play from the start of the game. However, Nitro goaltender Lauren Cross didn’t let anything get by her easy, and it would be her teammate, Kaitlyn Cochran, who would open the scoring with 2:33 left in the frame to put the Edge down 1-0.
In the second, however, the Edge’s kept up their possession and pressure and just over four minutes into the second, it would pay off as Maya Weidner found the back of the net. About a minute later, Mia Cunningham gave the Edge their first lead, and while the Nitro’s Natalie Potter would respond just 22 seconds later, the Edge wouldn’t let their opponents retake the lead.
Emmerson Winslow scored the go-ahead goal in the midst of a series of Nitro penalties, and Cunningham added her second of the game with 8:36 left to go. While the Nitro’s Syla Earl would bring her team within one with 4:22 left, Cunningham’s goal would be the ultimate game winner.
Edge goaltender Blake Henry would pick up the win between the pipes.
O’Muir said her team started to work as a team better in the second to beat the Nitro’s triangle set-up, as well as their goalie. Persistence and discipline were also a factor, finishing with 50 shots on goal to their opponents 31, and just 10 penalty minutes compared to 26 for the Nitro.
“Stay out of the box, stay back behind your forwards, fire at their forwards – they have an exceptional goalie on that team, so it was just keep firing,” she said.
“The other team had penalty after penalty, and we work really hard to stay out of the penalty box.”
In fact, in their pool near the end of session one, the U16 Edge are the least penalized team in their pool, as well as pool leaders. Session two is set to begin in December, and the long-term goal is to win playdowns in February and claim another provincial banner.
The U14 B Edge also claimed gold in the first Ice Breaker Tournament final Sunday morning, edging the Bow View Warriors in a narrow 4-3 win, as did the U10-3 over the Edmonton Raptors. The U19 B team also won gold over Strathmore Ice Holes.
Both the U10-2 Wolves and Bolts took silver, falling to the St. Albert Stormbreakers and the Drayton Valley Dream Team.
The U12 A Edge (2-1-0) finished third due to tiebreaker rules, despite tying record-wise with three other teams in their pool, while the U12 B Edge (1-1-1) would also finish third.
“The tournament was great – the organizers did a wonderful job. We have this tournament every year and our team really enjoyed themselves,” she said. “I hope the teams that came from out of town enjoyed themselves, too.”