It didn’t take long for a mishmash of players from the Whitehorse Women’s Hockey League to gel at the Calgary Women’s Spring Hockey Tournament in Alberta.
Three Whitehorse teams, all assembled for the tournament, won hardware at the Calgary tourney on April 13.
All three teams went undefeated through the round-robin into the finals for their respective divisions. Two came away with silver and one with gold.
There was nothing sour about the Sour Toes’ road trip to Calgary.
The Whitehorse team outscored the competition 30-4 en route to gold in the recreational division.
“We had a pretty balanced team,” said Sour Toes’ Cheryl Rivest. “We had three lines. We had a line we jokingly called the ‘legends line’ with three of us who have played together for quite a number of years … We were the older gals. We had the ‘prime line,’ which was the next youngest line. And we had the ‘kids,’ which were the youngest on the team.
“Every line contributed.”
The Sour Toes cruised through the Wheat Queens of Vulcan, Alta., 12-2 and Babes on Blades of Rockyford, Alta., 10-0 in their first two games.
They had a close 2-1 win over Medicine Hat’s Mother Puckers to round off the round-robin before beating the Puckers 6-1 in the final. Brianne Warner was named the Sour Toes’ MVP in the gold medal game.
Whitehorse’s Yukon Gold team won three straight before a loss in the final in the B division.
“We went down and it was amazing because we had never all played on a team together before,” said Gold captain Danielle Hodgson. “I think getting second was pretty good.”
Yukon Gold lost 3-1 to Edmonton’s Hellions in the final with a goal from Gold MVP Vanessa Bogaert. The Whitehorse squad had defeated the Hellions 4-2 during the round-robin.
“(The final) was a different rink with different refs and I think the refs let us play more,” said Hodgson. “The Yukon team doesn’t play very physical because we play with a lot of beginner players. So I think a lot of us were wondering if the refs were going to call stuff and it got pretty nasty at the end – lots of hitting from behind and things like that.”
The Yukon Slimy Sculpins had four close battles with three one-goal games, including the final, in the beginner division.
The Slimy Sculpins lost 2-1 to N.W.T.‘s Hay River Hazards in the final, with team MVP Jessica Nadeau scoring for Yukon, assisted by Tiffany Tasane and Chris “Blodge” Blodgett.
“We were definitely hoping to come home with gold, everyone was looking for a Yukon sweep, but the Northwest Territories team was tough, they were physical,” said Blodge. “We played hard all tournament, we were undefeated in the round-robin and we skated as hard as we could.
“It was a close game. A bounce goes the other way and it could have been ours.”
The Slimy Sculpins opened with a 3-2 win over Alberta’s Frozen Snappers, with Blodge netting two goals and Karen Branigan another. The Sculpins then topped the Hay River Hazards 2-1 with goals from Nadeau and Jenn King. The Yukon team finished the round-robin with a 2-0 shutout of Canmore. Blodge scored her third and fourth of the tourney and was named MVP a second time while goalie Tyya Wilkenson secured the shutout.
“Everyone on the beginner team has less than five years experience,” said Blodge. “A lot of us are in our first year.”
A Yukon team won the beginner division last year when Whitehorse’s Eh Team – another team made up from the Whitehorse women’s league – went undefeated in four games.
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