Grande Prairie, Alberta
Pulling off a 1-1 tie against Team Alaska, the defending Arctic Winter Games junior female hockey champions, is undoubtedly promising for Team Yukon. However, on Tuesday, things were up and down for the Yukon girls’ hockey team in Grande Prairie, Alberta.
Moving to a 1-1-1 record, Yukon trounced Nunavut 11-1 but finished the day with a 5-0 loss to Team Alberta North.
While Team Yukon was on its second game of the day, Alberta North was playing its first, which was a major factor in the loss, said Team Yukon head coach Louis Bouchard.
“The girls were tired and it was hard to get that extra push out of them,” said Bouchard. “They gave it everything they had and played awesome, as far as I’m concerned.
“On a good day we can compete with them.”
Yukon looked to be the sharper of the two teams in the scoreless first period against Alberta North. However, an Alberta goal two minutes into the second seemed to dramatically alter Team Yukon’s chemistry on the ice.
“Our attitude went down a lot and messed up our game,” said Yukon centre Linsey Eby, who is fourth in points at the Games. “We have to raise our spirits, especially in the warmup. In the change room there were negative acts that weren’t needed at all.”
Tuesday morning, against Nunavut, things went the other way, with Team Yukon picking up steam as the game went on, scoring six third-period goals.
“It took a while to get the ball rolling against them and once we got going we were OK, but it took some of the energy out of (the Alberta North) game,” said Bouchard. “We have a very young team, so they don’t have that reserve of energy that an older team would have.”
Yukon team captain Chantelle Rivest did the bulk of the damage against Nunavut with a six-point game, including two goals. Rivest, the team’s top producer so far in the tournament, sits third overall in points at the Games. Eby also was fierce in the game with a hat trick and an assist while teammates Dana van Vliet made three assists and Angela Burke racked up two goals and an assist.
In the opener against Alaska, the US squad drew first blood, but Eby answered back to tie the game, sweeping in Tamara Greek’s rebound from in front of the blue ice.
“(Greek’s) was not a great shot but the idea was to get it on and get those rebounds,” said Bouchard. “It was Linsey’s 14th birthday, so she bought herself a present right there.
“It was a tough game; we got a lot of penalties and spent a lot of time one or two players down,” added Bouchard. “I wouldn’t say we wanted it more because we tied it, but we wanted it.
“We came into the tournament thinking Alaska was the team to beat, so for us tying them is a big moment in this tournament.”
Team Yukon’s junior females continue play Wednesday, taking on the 2008 Arctic Games’ silver medalists, Team NWT.
Yukon’s other hockey teams have also been struggling for wins in Grande Prairie.
The midget males’ team has a 1-2 record, taking a close 2-0 win over Team NWT, but coming up short on Tuesday, losing 1-0 against Team Alaska and 4-1 against Team Alberta North.
Yukon’s bantam males’ team is currently winless with a 6-0 loss to NWT to start the Games followed by a 3-1 loss against Team Alaska and a 10-0 thumping to Team Alberta North on Tuesday. Scoring the bantams’ only goal so far was Liam Webster, assisted by Mike Arnold.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org