Quesnel ringette finds gold down south

The Quesnel U16 Ringette team took on all comers at the provincials.

A Quesnel player runs rings around an opponent at provincials.

A Quesnel player runs rings around an opponent at provincials.

The U16 Quesnel ringette team ranged far afield, bringing back golden treasure from exotic Surrey.

The Quesnel club went south for their provincials, with a gold and silver tournament filling their sails and driving them onward to victory.

“We had played most of the competition and we went into the provincials with the goal of winning it,” coach Vernon Belcher said.

The club started clearing their path to treasure in a pitched battle against the Kelowna team. Quesnel rolled through Kelowna with a convincing 9-3 win.

Next in their quest, they took on a strong Westside team, who they would meet again further down the road. Quesnel took the upper hand in their first meeting, running away to a 7-3 win, forging their way deep into the heart of the competition.

Shuswap, who assistant-coach Ron Richert said was one of the best teams in the league, supplied Quesnel’s only defeat in their quest for golden glory. The game was tied through the first, but the Shuswap topped Quesnel by a single point in the second to win, 8-7.

The loss, which could have taken the wind from their sails at the midpoint of the tournament, did nothing to quell the enthusiasm of the team, Richert said.

With team spirit still riding high, Quesnel faced another difficult opponent, their Central Interior rivals Prince George, in a chance for a by into finals.

A win would also take both the Shuswap, a difficult adversary, and P.G., their heated rivals, out of contention, leaving an easier path to gold.

The game turned out to be a nail biter. Tied through the first at one a piece, the game was won on the back lines.

“It became a goaltender battle,” Belcher said.

In the second, Quesnel pulled in front, but a penalty shot put their victory in house-of-cards territory.

Goalie Dakota Gatzke was on his game, making the save and preserving the lead and the victory.

“I knew at that point we just had to play well and we had it beat,” Belcher said.

Quesnel met Westside again in the final bout to contend for the gold.

The score was close through the first, tied at 2-2 at half time, but Quesnel came into theĀ  second on fire, racking up twice the goals Westside did to win the game 6-4.

“The girls played really well and deserved to win,” said Richert.