Yukon defenceman Tamara Greek went into the junior female hockey bronze medal game unhappy with her equipment.
She broke her stick in the previous game and had a new one sent up from the manufacturer overnight. But the stick she was sent had a curve she was unaccustomed to.
It didn’t seem to matter.
Greek scored three goals and produced one assist as the Yukon beat N.W.T. 7-1 for the bronze in the Arctic Winter Games at the Takhini Arena on Friday in Whitehorse.
“It had the wrong curve and … I just couldn’t play with it,” said Greek of the stick. “But it turned out to work.
“I’m still thinking about getting rid of it – trying to sell it to get a new one… but I might keep it.”
The Yukon opened the tournament with a much less lopsided game against N.W.T., tying 2-2 on March 4.
“We were able to establish our game plan,” said Yukon head coach Louis Bouchard. “We stayed out of the box – that was the big thing from our first game.
“This time around, we played much more disciplined hockey. We were moving the puck a lot faster. When we are able to play the game our way, the results go our way.”
The Yukon did receive twice as many penalties as its opponents, taking six to N.W.T.‘s three. But penalties didn’t slow the Yukon squad down.
The team’s fifth goal, scored by assistant captain Dana van Vliet, was put in with not one, but two Yukon players in the penalty box.
“We have a lot of speed so when they take players off the ice, it just opens up for us,” said Bouchard. “It puts us at a disadvantage. But when you’re playing shorthanded, it’s open permission to ice the puck, so it opens up the ice a lot for us.”
The bronze is the second straight medal for the Yukon in female hockey at the Arctic Games. The Yukon won silver at the 2010 Games in Grande Prairie, Alta. Eleven players on this year’s team, including Greek, played on the 2010 team.
“We’re working towards our matching set,” quipped Bouchard.
Team Yukon arrived in the bronze game after losing 6-0 to Alaska in the semifinal. It ended the round-robin 1-2-1 with a devastating 11-0 win over Team Nunavut.
“It felt good to know that we’re from the Yukon and, just because we don’t have a large selection of girls, it doesn’t mean we can’t go out with a band and get a medal,” said Greek. “Most people probably weren’t expecting us to get a medal, but we worked our hearts out and got it.”
Also scoring for the Yukon in the bronze game were Madison Logan, Linsey Eby and Chyanne Spenner. Getting assists were Tshayla Nothstein, Emilie Nugent, van Vliet, Jolene Pitts, Sierra Oakley and Logan.
Greek’s third goal was assisted by goaltender Teneesha Merkel.
“I wish we played our first game like that,” said Bouchard. “If we had started the tournament with that pace … the tournament might have turned out different for us. But we’re still happy with the results and proud of what our girls accomplished.
“All of our forwards and most of our defence played awesome,” he added. “They realized it takes a team effort to win. The whole team put the effort in and that’s why they won.”
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