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Tuesday, May. 21, 2019
Lo-Ellen girls hockey will play for a medal on Thursday
by Randy Pascal

SDSSAA representatives have historically more than held their own at the various OFSAA Girls Hockey Championships and the 2018-2019 Lo-Ellen Park Knights see no reason to deviate from that footprint.

Though the Knights would lay claim to their first ever city title a few weeks back, they are looking like seasoned pros at the 2019 OFSAA A/AA Girls Hockey Championship in Midland.

Coach Larry Frank and his team are through to the final four, after eliminating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish from Burlington, 2-1 in overtime. Seeded 10th in the 16-team field, the Knights took down the # 4 ranked team in the process.

Lo-Ellen would split their two games on opening day on Tuesday, downing the Eastside Ravens from Belleville 3-1 (Makayla Gratton - 2, Katie Chomiak), but dropping a 2-1 decision to the St David Celtics from Waterloo (Chomiak with the goal).

Needing a win this morning to secure a quarter-final berth, the Knights disposed of the Almaguin Highlanders 7-0, with Aoife Mahaffy and Lauren Fearn leading the attack with two goals each.

Goals by Cecilia Anderson, Bradie Roy and Hanna Smith rounded out the scoring, leaving Lo-Ellen sitting in second place in Pool "C". The pace picked up substantially in the afternoon encounter versus Notre Dame, as goaltender Kristen Mrozewski came through with a strong performance, backed by a two goal effort from Katie Chomiak, including the game winner in overtime.

"We have some different girls this year and I find that we're competing a lot better than we were last year," said Mrozewski, one of a handful of Lo-Ellen players who got their first taste of high school provincials last March in Timmins.

"Just for that reason, I find that it feels different." While Makayla Gratton was not among the crew from 2018, the forward with the Sudbury Midget "AA" Lady Wolves could draw on her experience from grade ten, when she attended OFSAA as a member of the Collège Notre-Dame Alouettes.

"I think our team is really competitive this year, but there's a lot of good hockey players here," said Gratton. "We're a pretty fast team, so we knew that we had to skate and we had to move the puck really well to keep up."

"But we're also playing aggressive," added Gratton. "When we're dumping it in, we're beating people to the puck, using our speed and catching people off guard with that." Though many a veteran of the Lo-Ellen sports scene would have experienced OFSAA in some other sport, many agree that the feeling within this group is somewhat unique.

"It's definitely different," said Mrozewski, who has been to similar events in both cross-country and track and field. "With a hockey team, we're all girls, we're all super close and we bond better than with some sports where it's a whole bunch of different people."

The Knights will now face the two-time defending champion Ecole Secondaire catholique l'Escale Cougars from Rockland in one of two semi-final encounters Thursday morning, with the winner advancing to the gold medal encounter at 3:15 p.m. while the losing team will battle it out for bronze at 2:20 p.m.

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