It’s never as exciting as the first time, so when the North added their teams name to the U16 girls B.C. Cup, with a couple locals adding their skill to the team, the interruption of a line of lower mainland names was exciting.
“On the trophy it’s all Lower Mainland, Lower Mainland, Vancouver and now it’s got the North,” Katie Young, a forward on the North team, said.
Young and Sydney Jordan, both Gold Pan residents, made the trip south to Duncan with a team they had never been on the ice with early this month to make history for the tiny towns and resource cities of Northern B.C.
Team North won five straight games to take the U16 Cup, taking on some very difficult teams before earn the win.
With a single pringactice together, just before the tournament in Duncan, the team started it’s ladder to ascendancy with a 3-1 win over Kootenay.
The game was closer than the score alludes to, with the North still gelling.
Kootenay was within a point of the North in the final moments and pulled their goalie for a shot at a tie and a shoot out. The North took advantage of the empty net, putting in their third goal of the game to nail down the win.
“If that was our last game we probably would have won by more, but we were just starting to come together,” Jordan said.
Young agreed, saying the game helped the team to warm up.
The girls next faced the Vancouver Island team, a tougher team according to Jordan. But the girls, now with a game under their belts, were ready to step up their game.
“We knew each other more and were more comfortable. The first game we were nervous cause we knew there were scouts there,” Young said.
“But, by the second game we were used to it, so we felt more comfortable.”
With the extra confidence the girls fought down to the last minutes. Once again the North was up a single point in the dying minute, 3-2, with The Island pulling their goalie for the final push. The North, however, once more capitalized on the lack of goalie and secured the game with an empty netter to take the game 4-2.
The Island wasn’t done with the North yet, though. Team North was in first after their first two games and the Island was in second, so, for the final game of the round robin, the two teams faced off again.
“The Island team played well in that game, better than in our first game,” Jordan said.
This, however, was the North’s time to shine, as a win in the game would put the team at the furthest the North had ever made it in the tournament.
Once again the game was close, with the coaches battling it out, trying to match lines and outwit their opponents.
The North came through, beating the Island to make the step into the semi-finals.
“The coaches came in and told us we made it the furthest of any North team and we were pretty happy,” Young said.
The toughest was yet to come for the girls, with the two Lower Mainland teams up next.
In the semi-finals, the North came up against the blue Lower Mainland team.
“They were really good; they were hard,” Jordan said.
Both teams traded a goal which was all the points through regulation time, culminating in a shoot out.
The North’s goalie kept strong throughout the shoot out, while the North netted the single goal needed to take the game and move on to the big, final game.
Their final game opened up with a flurry of action in the first. The North scored twice in the first seven minutes, including a goal from Young, while the Lower Mainland put a single mark on the scoreboard, which lead to a tense second and third period.
“It was really scary, cause we knew if we scored we could put it away, but if they scored they could tie it,” Jordan said.
The North’s goalie and defence were able to keep the Lower Mainlanders at bay, winning the trophy for the first time, interrupting a long line of Lower Mainland names and causing a the team to shoot from the benches in joy for the winning dog pile.
Besides the thrill of victory, and an underdog win, the championship also boasted speakers and an Olympian to bolster the girl’s spirits and encourage them on to new heights, which seems to have worked for Jordan and Young.