Local competitive ringette players appear to be catching their second wind.
After gradually working their way back up the ranks, competing with the top-end of provincial ringette talent, area rep teams are now consistently returning home from tournament play with hardware to show for their efforts.
Most recently, that would entail three Sudbury-based teams travelling to the nation's capital, site of the 2016 Nepean Ringette Tournament. The 18+ girls opened with a pair of ties, before taking their final two outings and claiming gold medals in the process.
Playing under the banner of the Valley East Ringette Association, the young women opened with a 5-5 tie with the University of Ottawa Gee Gees, as Renée Delarosbil and Rachel Gouveia scored twice each for the Valley, with Chelsea Clingen netting the final goal.
A lot more scoring, but same end result in game two as Valley East and Kingston play to an 8-8 draw, with Clingen enjoying another two goal effort in the midst of a very balanced attack.
Riley Jo Linklater, Shannon Lachance, Isabelle Veilleux, Caitlyn Ranger, Delarosbil and Gouveia all hit the mark for the locals. Eight different players actually join in the frey in game three, as Valley East doubled the Nutri-Lawn Panthers (Gloucester) 8-4.
Ranger, Gouveia, Linklater, Delarosbil and Lachance are joined on the scoresheet by Angela Mead, Mary McCooeye and Brooke Hope as the Northern Ontario crew that assembled players from a variety of areas across the north keep rolling along.
Still plenty of firepower in the tank come Sunday morning as Valley East clipped Hamilton 8-6, with Delarosbil leading the way with a pair of markers. Gouveia, Sam Odorizzi, Ranger, Jenna Dubeau, Danya Desjardins and Veilleux all chipped in, as the team advanced to the final.
A much tighter affair would see Valley East and the Carleton University Ravens head to overtime, with Ranger netting her second of the game and lifting the locals to a 4-3 gold medal victory. Dubeau and Delarosbil rounded out the scoring for the winning side, whose roster also included Shayla David, Desirée Leclair and Brianna Herdman.
The U14 “A” crew registered wins in four of their first five games, advancing to the gold medal encounter but settling for silver with a 7-2 loss to Alberta. A rock solid field of teams included entries from Kitchener, Guelph, Ottawa and Waterloo, all of whom would take it on the chin from the Sudbury representatives.
Coach Jackie Glogger and company hit the ground running, stopping Kitchener 5-3 as Jessica Willis (3 goals) and Avery Blanchard (2) handled the offense. The team would see their mark evened at 1-1 with a loss to Waterloo, by the exact same score, as Willis and Blanchard welcomed Alexis McMurray to the offensive celebrations.
Saturday was a good one for the Sudbury girls, besting Guelph 7-2 as Willis and Cydney Tinkham pulled the trigger twice each, with Ava Blum, Blanchard and McMurray adding solo tallies.
A second straight trip to the win column, later in the afternoon, as Sudbury scored twice in the final 1:13, pulling out a 5-3 win over Ottawa. Willis (2), Tinkham, McMurray and Blanchard accounted for the Sudbury goals.
Another close one early Sunday morning as the Nickel City grouping earn a shot at gold with a 4-3 win over Waterloo, with Tinkham (2), Willis and Kaitlyn Hinksman solving the opposition netminder.
Unfortunately, an undefeated Alberta squad proved to be too much for Sudbury, and the remainder of the teams in the U14 Division, capturing the hardware by a 7-2 count, as Willis and McMurray countered in a losing cause.
A little misfortune for the U16 Sudbury team, who posted wins over Nepean (6-3), Kitchener (6-4), Pickering (7-2) and Ottawa (7-4), before being slowed down by Mitchell, handed a 2-1 semi-final loss.
All hands were on deck early for coach Lucie Poulin and her staff, as Megan Watson, Emily Punkari, Lily Hayden, Alexandra Bloomfield, Alexis Pilon and Taylor Gilchrist all found the back of the net for Sudbury in game one.
Another six goal effort in the game two win, as Punkari, Pilon, Hayden, Bloomfield are right back at it, with Erika Poirier and Hannah Vehkala also breaking the ice offensively.
Time to pick up the pace the next day, as sevens are wild for the Sudburians, starting with an impressive win over Pickering, with Gilchrist, Bloomfield and Hayden leading the charge with two goals apiece. Pilon closed out the attack in the final minute of the contest.
More of the same in their final round robin affair, with Sudbury locking up first place with their takedown of the Ottawa reps. Seven different players would raise their hands triumphantly, as Gilchrist, Hayden, Kaitlyn Chevrier, Pilon, Watson, Poirier and Bloomberg all solve the Ottawa ringstopper once each.
The powerful offense would dry up at a most inopportune time, as a second period goal by Bloomfield was all of the attack that the locals could muster against Mitchell, sent packing despite surrendering just two goals in the semis.
Virtually all of the Sudbury and area ringette talent will be on display at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex this weekend, site of the Sudbury Invitational Ringette Tournament.