Chaos tops women’s hockey jamboree

Team Chaos had a whole new line-up for this year’s International Whitehorse Women’s Chrismukahanza Hockey Jamboree.

Team Chaos had a whole new line-up for this year’s International Whitehorse Women’s Chrismukahanza Hockey Jamboree, as is the nature of the tournament, but it once again emerged the winner.

The Chaos squad defeated Team Avalanche 3-2 in the championship game Saturday at the Takhini Arena to win for the second straight year.

“I think we came together more as a team this game. Everyone kept working really hard and this time we prevailed,” said Chaos forward Danielle Hodgson.

“We have a good group of women from all over – Dawson, Dease Lake, kind of all over the Yukon. It’s nice for all the women from all over the territory to get together and play in a really good, fun tournament.”

Hodgson got the ball rolling for Chaos, scoring on a breakaway five minutes, 40 seconds into the first period to go up 1-0. Nine minutes later Avalanche tied the score on a long shot from Cheri Malo, but Chaos regained the lead just seconds after on a shot from Alyssa Beckett.

With eight minutes left in the first, Hodgson expanded the lead, breaking through the Avalanche defence and slipping in a quick shot from in front.

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“I thought we played well in that game for it having been our third game of the day,” said Avalanche captain Stefanie Headley. “As we kept playing, we kept meshing together. We kept our same lines together so it wasn’t confusing. From our first game to our fourth game today, we kept improving.”

Avalanche closed the gap a little midway through the second on a long shot from near half from Lael Lund that somehow got through. Despite the slipup from Chaos goalie Heather Desmarais, she was named her team’s MVP for the jamboree.

“She did awesome,” said Hodgson. “She’s a new goalie. She hasn’t been playing very long and she was just amazing through the whole tournament.”

A good day for goalies, Avalanche’s net-minder, Amy Gill, got the corresponding MVP nod from her team.

“She was playing awesomely,” said Headley. “In the first couple games she was letting out rebounds and things like that, but this game she got right on top of those and was the best player of the game.”

After losing 6-1 to Dynamite on Saturday morning, Team Blizzard bounced back to defeat the Dynamite squad 3-0 in the third-place game in the afternoon.

“We just went for the puck, were first to the puck, and just played hard. That’s what we went in there doing – and communicating,” said Blizzard defence Lily Gontard. “We talked a lot, were encouraging each other and had super-short shifts. Or, at least, we tried to.

“Hockey is a funny game. You never know who is going to win or lose, and it just worked in our favour today.”

“They swapped goalies,” said Dynamite forward Cheryl Rivest. “Sue (Roy) is a much better goalie than she is defence. She’ll probably kill me for saying that.

“And nothing against Tyya (Wilkinson), she’s a great goalie too. Sue might be a little stronger than her, she’s had a few more games, and Tyya has just started playing again.”

Blizzard fought against the current to take the win, with Dynamite controlling the majority of the play and getting more shots on net. In fact, Blizzard’s first goal was shorthanded, with Kylie Bird stealing the puck in the Dynamite end, putting a wrist shot into the back of the net. (Bird got her team’s only goal in the 6-1 loss to Dynamite in the morning, scoring with five seconds left in regulation.)

Blizzard tournament MVP, Georgie Townrow from Haines Junction, then scored two in the second period, finding the five-hole on a breakaway and one-timing a pass from behind the net. Both Townrow goals were assisted by Alyssa Beckett.

“Georgie has really powerful legs; she has some strength in her and she can go, go, go,” said Gontard.

“We had 15 women playing in the tournament who are not in the (Whitehorse Women’s) Hockey League, so they were from Haines Junction, from Dawson, from Dease Lake,” she added.

“The way the jamboree works is women register on their own, and they rate themselves on a scale from one to five – their skill level – and I put the teams together based on that. So there’s an equal amount of advanced, intermediate and beginner players on each team.”

Named MVP for Dynamite was forward Genevieve Gay while Chaos defence Jacquie Clune was given Most-Sportspersonally Player of the jamboree.

“It was a lot of fun and I just want to thank Lily (Gontard) for putting it on, organizing the teams, and all the hard work she does,” said Hodgson. “If anyone should get an MVP or trophy, it’s that woman.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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