Part of North Star Mini-Storage’s game plan was to battle until the final second. That’s where last-minute wins come from.
The team took the trophy with a last-minute win in the Whitehorse Women’s Hockey Association league final on Thursday at the Canada Games Centre.
They won 2-1 over White Storm with a game-winner from Amy Vermeulen with 16 seconds left.
“We’re pretty excited. We weren’t sure because often the underdogs come and take it out from underneath,” said North Star captain Vanessa Bogaert. “So we were going in thinking, ‘Don’t get too cocky. Play your game. No matter what happens, we’ve had fun all year. We’ve played hard, we’ll just play to the last second.’
“That’s exactly what happened. I passed it up to Amy and was like, ‘Go! Do something!’ And she went and did her thing.”
With the game on course for overtime, Vermeulen took a pass at the red line and blew through the White Storm defence like a jetliner and buried the game-winner.
North Star, which finished the regular season in first place, took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal from Liz Eddy, assisted by Kathleen Jarvis and Bogaert.
Storm’s Danielle Hodgson slipped a backhander by North Star goalie Chris “Blodge” Blodgett on a breakaway to tie it 1-1 midway through the second.
White Storm came close to taking the lead early in the third period when Bogaert was called for tripping in the only penalty of the game. Storm rang a shot of the post and forced Blodge to make a few big saves,
including a couple on a breakaway by Hodgson.
“They played a hard game and it was good to be out there with them,” said Bogaert.
EDI Environmental took third place with a 5-2 loss to White Storm on Wednesday. White Storm, which lost its first game of the playoffs to the Green Beans, came up through the bottom of the draw and defeated EDI Environmental to reach the final.
The women’s league expanded to seven teams, with over 100 players, to make this past season its biggest ever. Some of the teams have picked up corporate sponsors – like North Star Mini-Storage and EDI
Environmental – and league execs hope to expand to eight teams next season with more sponsors.
“We’d love to have eight (teams),” said Bogaert, who is a vice-president for the association. “We have beginners, from people who have never been on skates before, to people who played university and AAA senior women’s, so there’s been a wide variety of players out there.”
The wrap-up of the women’s league comes on the heels of three Whitehorse teams having great success at the Calgary Women’s Spring Hockey Tournament in Alberta a little over a week ago. The teams, largely made up from players from the Whitehorse league, reached the final in three divisions and came away with a gold and two silver.
“We never would have expected seven teams, or three teams in Calgary, and more people who wanted to come – we could have taken more teams for sure,” said WWHA president Joelle Hodgins. “Two years ago it was five, last year it was six, this year it was seven,” she added of the growing league.
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