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Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2019
Lady Wolves in Cambridge - and alumni updates
by Randy Pascal

Throughout the winter, there are a number of tournaments, across the province, that have tended to attract a really solid contingent of local teams. Few did so with quite as much success as the Cambridge Roadrunners' 25th New Years' Challenge Cup earlier this month.

Furthermore, few of these events would see quite the haul of hardware returning north as that which resulted from the efforts of the Sudbury girls in Cambridge. Over the course of the next week or so, we hope to highlight as many of these SDGHA (Sudbury District Girls Hockey Association) teams as possible.

With goals more than a little tricky to come by, the Sudbury Atom "AA" Lady Wolves saved their outburst for the best possible time, salvaging bronze medals with a 4-1 win over the Barrie Sharks early Sunday morning.

Two goal efforts by both Maia Hammell and Reese Williamson propelled the atoms to victory, in a rematch of a contest in which the Lady Wolves dropped a 3-0 decision one day earlier.

The Sudbury crew were edged out 2-1 by the Oakville Hornets in their tournament ice-breaker, as Hammell netted the only goal in a losing cause. Ironically, it was the eventual gold medal winning squad, the Peterborough Ice Kats, against which the Lady Wolves enjoyed the most round robin success, earning a scoreless draw, thanks in part to a shutout performance from Abby Yeomans.

While the 3-0 loss to Barrie would leave coach Darryl Williamson and company sitting in fourth place, a rebound effort against the Sharks allowed the locals to hit the road with even bigger smiles on their faces.

The 2018-2019 roster for the Atom "AA" Lady Wolves includes Aaliyah Osawamick, Izzy Lanteigne, Cassidy Dutrisac, Allaura Peltier-Restoule, Valérie Prévost, Bella Massimiliano, Julia Dunphy, Chloe Leduc, Maia Hammell, Morgan Dunphy, Olivia Carriere, Reese Williamson, Chloe Martin, Gabrielle Foreshew, Alexa Labrecque and Leah Murphy, with Lanteigne garnering tournament MVP honours for the team.

Meanwhile, the strength of northern Ontario girls hockey was shining through in the Midget "BB" ranks as Sudbury and North Bay would navigate their way to a very entertaining championship final.

The route the Lady Wolves travelled was a somewhat circuitous one, a trek that began well enough as the locals opened play with a 2-0 whitewashing of the Ancaster Avalanche. Backstopped by a strong performance from netminder Dylann Aikia, with some timely big saves, and goals from Taylor Buchowski and Kayla Thompson (empty-net goal), the Sudbury girls were off and running.

Unfortunately, a lengthy gap between games one and two appeared to sap the energy of coach Ian Reinhardt's troops, falling to 1-1 thanks to a 5-1 loss at the hands of the Lakeshore Lightning. Grace Keenan accounted for the only Sudbury goal.

Forced away from their game and into a penalty-filled affair with a big, strong Lindsay Lynx crew, the Lady Wolves dropped their second straight encounter, losing 1-0. This would slot the Sudbury squad into a cross-over quarter-final battle with the Belleville Bearcats, one in which they emerged victorious (3-1) thanks to goals from Buchowski, Keenan and Hannah Whyte, while Dana Lewis registered the win between the pipes.

Unfortunately, this would mean a rematch with Lindsay, with a berth in the finals on the line. "This was a revenge game, where the girls used their speed, moved the puck quickly and stayed out of the box," stated coach Reinhardt. A two goal effort from Taylor Buchowski and an empty-net marker from Lillia Mae Samuels, combined with Aikia's second shutout of the weekend lifted the Lady Wolves past the Lynx, 3-0.

The emotional drain of that contest, along with key injuries to both Kayla Thompson and Faith Taylor, would eventually take their toll, as the Lady Wolves came up just short versus the Ice Boltz, beaten 2-1 in spite of an outstanding effort from netminder Dana Lewis.

Hailey Prior opened the scoring for the locals, with Marley Turcotte drawing the only assist, before North Bay rallied, deadlocking the affair late in the second and netting the game-winning goal with just 63 seconds to play.

"It was an excellent weekend of hockey from the entire team," summarized Reinhardt. "The girls really came together and they are looking forward to playdowns."

Rounding out the team roster for the Midget "BB" Lady Wolves are Bradie Roy, Gabriella Moggy, Kate Dambremont, Kendra MacMillan, Kyla Vaillancourt and Lexie McNamara.

Alumni Updates: While a power outage at Canlan Ice Sports would postpone a match-up between former Lady Wolves Tayler Murphy (York Lions) and Stephanie Pascal (Queen's Gaels) on Saturday, it did allow for some time to catch-up with the sophomore forward who is balancing her time with the women's hockey team and the demanding academic workload of the Schulich School of Business at York.

"I definitely feel more comfortable and I have a lot more confidence, both on the ice and in the classroom," said Murphy, coming off a freshman season in which she recorded nine points (three goals, six assists), finishing fourth in team scoring.

"It's nice having that year under your belt to get into the swing of things and know how everything works." Having carved out a niche in her role over the years with the Lady Wolves, Murphy is now looking to expand those horizons over the course of her time with the Lions.

"When I was growing up, I always had a pretty strong understanding of the defensive zone and where I need to be," noted the 20-year old centerman. "But offensively, I was always more there to support in the zone, one of the last ones in to help."

"Now, with the confidence, I am one of the players bringing the puck into the zone more often, trying to create things. I have a lot more patience with the puck." With a current record of 4-10-3-1, York is not likely to crack through to the playoff ranks this year, though Murphy contends that a couple of key improvements would surely increase their chances, moving forward.

"We struggle to score goals at times when we need it, and we have trouble keeping a lead," she said. "We have won only two third periods the whole season, so even if we have a lead, we tend to lose it in the third."

"But this year, we have a lot of second and third year players, and we were really young last year. This is good for the program, because we are getting older, more experienced, and the new players coming in just kind of fill in the gaps."

While Murphy and Pascal may not have gone head to head, long-time local sniper Karli Shell was definitely ready to take advantage of her last crack at her former teammate. Shell would bang home a rebound, on the power-play Sunday, giving her Guelph Gryphons a 2-0 second period lead against Pascal and the Gaels, the OUA front-runners closing things off nicely with a 4-1 win over Queen's.

In fact, Shell would enjoy quite the weekend, registering three goals and two assists in two games and moving into a tie for 7th place in league scoring, compiling six goals and ten assists in 19 games.

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