The Yukon Female Development Team won gold in the bantam ‘A’ division of the Angels on Ice Tournament, hosted by the Langley Girls Ice Hockey Association from Dec. 28 to 30 in Langley, B.C. (Donna Cebuliak/Yukon Female Hockey Club)

Female bantam development team wins gold at Angels on Ice hockey tournament

The Yukon Female Hockey Club’s bantam development team returned home from Langley, B.C., with gold medals following the team’s victory at the Angels on Ice Tournament from Dec. 28 to 30.

With a total of eight bantam teams registered, the division was split into two with the Yukoners in pool A alongside Surrey, South Delta and Langley – three B.C. sides.

Things got underway with a win on Dec. 28 against Surrey and the team was again in the win column in the early game on Dec. 29 with a win against South Delta.

The team suffered its first – and only – setback of the weekend in the late game on Dec. 29, falling 4-2 to Langley after going down 3-0 early in the game.

A 2-1 record after round robin play setup a rematch against Delta, which the team won 7-2 to advance to the finals.

The final was a chance for revenge against Langley, and two goals in the opening period made the score 1-1.

That was all the goal scoring that would take place though, as two more regulation periods and five minutes of overtime couldn’t find a game-winner.

Jessica Pumphrey, head coach of the team, said things were starting to get stressful on and off the ice, as the final started at 5 p.m. and the group was scheduled to fly out of Vancouver at 8:45 p.m.

“Not only was it super exciting, but all the coaches — me and the manager and the team trainer on the bench — were all kind of like, ‘Oh my god, we’re going to miss our flight,’” said Pumphrey. “This is super exciting but we need for this to be moving along here.”

The format for the shooter was simple — five shooters for each team, with the most goals at the end of five rounds taking the win and the tournament. In the event of a tie, it would be sudden-death from round six onward.

Pumphrey’s desire for a quick resolution didn’t do much to influence the game though, as the first shooter for Langley lost the puck in her skates before scoring, creating a drawn-out controversy over whether or not the goal should stand based on the shooter having had to stop — or not — during the shot attempt.

“In and amongst all the drama of that,” said Pumphrey, explaining the ref ultimately decided to let the goal stand, “we’re going, OK, but we need to make our plane. Whatever this decision is, if you could just stick with it, that would be great.”

In the end though, it was the Yukon side that won the day with Alix Walchuk standing tall between the nets to secure the win.

Pumphrey said the tournament itself was a testament to the dedication of the group.

“Everyone was super sick,” said Pumphrey. “They all got laryngitis over the holidays and they still came and played like champs. We had injuries, we had to move players from (defence) up to forward to kind of balance the lines. … They really showed their resilience in that tournament.”

Some of things the team got to do off the ice, Pumphrey said, are what makes the program so important, citing a team dinner that allowed the players to spend time together.

“It was a lot of fun to see them have that opportunity to jell together as a group,” said Pumphrey. “It give them a chance to build their community and their relationships with each other, which I thought was fantastic.”

As a side note, the team did make its flight home.

“I think we had the girls out of the change room in like eight minutes,” said Pumphrey. “We got there just as (the airplane) finished boarding. We all sat down and maybe one person came after us.”

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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