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Champlain edges St Benedict to secure first place
2024-02-09
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The battle for first place in the SDSSAA Girls Hockey Division II loop came down to a match-up between the league champs in three of the past four years (St Benedict Bears) and the new kids on the block (Champlain Requins).

In the end, a hat trick from Samantha Charbonneau (with Kelly Clark drawing an assist on each and every one of those goals) allowed Champlain to eke out a 4-3 win, their record of 10-2-0 leaving them one point clear of the Bears.

"Last year, we were in last place most of the year so getting first place is a big step for us," noted 16 year old defenceman Addison Bergeson.

"This year, we actually have a goalie - and Mia (Moreau) saves our butts all the time. Last year we had players alternating through the net, so that makes a big difference."

Champlain enjoyed a quick start, jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Charbonneau and Dalia Belanger, with Sutton Morin getting one of those back for St Benedict.

It would take just ten seconds, however, for Charbonneau to restore the two goal advantage with her second of the game.

Once again, the Bears countered in the middle stanza, with Kendra Cole pulling the trigger on to see Charbonneau cap off her three goal performance before the end of the frame.

A short-handed strike from Mya Ricci made things interesting but it was not to be for the St Benedict crew who relinquish the regular season title for the first time since 2018-2019.

While the Requins' roster does feature a number of young ladies who are not strangers in the least to ice hockey, they also cobbled together a lineup from any source imagineable.

"My best friend of the team (Sierra Beaudry), she's a figure skater," explained Bergeron. "I almost had to force her to come out and play because we didn't have enough players - and now she's doing great."

"I kept telling her just to be patient because it does take a while, but she would come out and watch a bunch of my regular season (houseleague) games, just to get the hang of it."

With the playoffs set the begin next week, Bergeron is hoping that the crest of the front of the jersey might help make the different in the end.

"I feel I am representing something special here - our school," she said. "Champlain is a really small school, so we're like underdogs, so we're always trying harder."

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