Knights claim first ever Division I girls hockey crown
by Randy Pascal
The Lo-Ellen Park Knights racked up their first ever SDSSAA Division I girls hockey title on Wednesday, and they did it in style.
Just 24 hours after scrapping out a 2-0 decision in game one of their best of three series with the Collège Notre-Dame Alouettes, the Knights
left little doubt who the top team was in town this year.
With two goal performances from both Bradie Roy and Hanna Smith, and a more-than-solid 27 save effort from goaltender Kristen
Mrozewski, Lo-Ellen cruised to an 8-1 win and the championship banner, in the process.
Katie Chomiak, Makayla Gratton, Paige Crowder and Aoife Mahaffy rounded out the scoring for the winners, with Chloe Leduc replying
in a losing cause for CND. Mahaffy and Emma Dyer accounted for the offense in the game one triumph.
"Our girls play well together, we have a lot of different individuals that can score on this team," noted Knights' head coach Larry Frank. "We had
pretty well the same team back from last year, maybe minus one or two."
"We had four additions come on to the team, and that really made a difference, made a difference with the defence, because they are all new defencemen
that came in." After emerging as one of the top contenders in the city one year ago, earning a berth in OFSAA, Lo-Ellen continued their onward and upward
trajectory in 2018-2019.
"A few years ago, we were lucky enough to win Division B," said Frank. "Since then, we've been slowly building over the years, as more and more players
start coming to Lo-Ellen." And while there is no lack of Lady Wolves' talent on the roster of either of these teams, there still is room in the ranks for
the all-around high-school athlete.
"I have played hockey since I was little, not competitively, but it was definitely my favourite sport," noted 18 year old grade 12 senior Bronwyn
Mantle. "It was the only sport that I did outside of school."
"I just didn't want to do it competitively because I didn't want to lose the chance of playing all of the other sports. I just couldn't choose. I love
them all." In the mind of this multi-sport athlete, there are ways in which one can compensate for a lack of sport-specific excellence.
"In my opinion, I think it's all effort," said Mantle. "You might not have all of the skills of the girls that spend hours and hours, every week, doing
hockey, but you can still keep up and help them out. That's why I love playing defence, because I can start the play and they can go finish it."
Also a member of the Lo-Ellen senior girls volleyball team that leaves Sunday for OFSAA, Mantle draws an interesting connection between two of her
primary sports. "They all intertwine," she said. "Hockey helps me a lot with game awareness."
"I have never played competitive volleyball, but the awareness of the game helps so much position-wise, knowing where to be and when." Both Lo-Ellen and
Notre-Dame leave for North Bay on Monday, site of the NOSSA playdowns, with all of the 2019 OFSAA Girls Hockey Championships taking place in
Midland from March 18th to the 21st.
Rounding out the Lo-Ellen roster are Jessica Ouimet, Lauren Fearn, Alexandra Lumme, Amanda Symington, Jill Kusnierczyk, Cecilia Anderson, Kayla
Thompson, Taylor Bushowski and Chloe Campeau.