Green Gaels, Falcons to meet for D10 girls’ hockey title

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – Guelph CVI Green Gaels forward Lorraine Vandermyden had a good feeling when she arrived at the West End arena Wednesday for GCVI’s District 10 high school girls’ hockey league semifinal with the Centennial Spartans.

“I play for the Guelph midget AA team so we practise here twice a week and we play our games here so it’s like my home rink,” she said. “I knew we could do it coming into the game so I was pretty excited to go out there and do it. We knew what we could do.”

Vandermyden scored the eventual game-winning goal with less than seven minutes to go in the game and Maddy Krusky added an empty netter as GCVI blanked the defending-champion Spartans 2-0. Caitlin Kroetsch picked up the shutout.

“It was a two-on-one rush and I pulled it and I shot through the D and got a screen and it just kind of sneaked past the goalie,” Vandermyden said of the winning goal. “It was a pretty exciting goal and everyone was really excited once we got it because then we had the momentum going into the rest of the game.”

Never known as a high-scoring squad, the Gaels have always been one of the most defensive teams in the league and they used that prowess in their own end in the semifinal.

“Our girls play really well defensively,” GCVI coach Evan Howie said. “They skate both ways which you have to do to be successful. We’ve had some close games this year so that’s prepared us for a close, tight-checking game when we got into the playoffs.”

“In our defensive zone, we’ve been really working on having our wingers staying up on their points and everyone doing their jobs well,” Vandermyden said. “Especially the last few games that we’ve played, our wingers have been doing a really good job covering the points so their points aren’t having a lot of time to control the puck and stuff like that. Down low, we have two strong goaltenders in net so we know we always have someone strong in net to back us up if something goes wrong.”

Both teams took more penalties than they would have liked, GCVI being tagged for 12 minutes and Centennial 10.

“It was a bit unorthodox but in the end, they got it done,” Howie said. “We kept our composure even though it was a little bit different game than we had prepared for. They stayed in the game and they played really hard the entire time which is all we ask of them and because of that, that’s why we came out on top – because they just played so hard the entire game.”

“It was tough,” Vandermyden said of the penalties. “We probably played a period shorthanded. We had a four-minute and stuff. It was tough and a couple of times they had some really good chances and we killed them all off.”

The Gaels advance to play the Centre Wellington Falcons of Fergus in the title game early next week at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex. Date and time have not been set.

“Centre Wellington’s a good skating team and Centre Wellington’s arena is made for a good skating team,” Howie said. “We just have to make sure that we don’t let them gain a lot of speed going through the neutral zone. If we can slow them down, then we’ll be in good shape.”

Centre Wellington gained its berth in the final with a 3-2 semifinal victory over the Ross Royals Wednesday at Fergus.

Allison Campbell scored twice for the Falcons while Abbegayle Zwep had the other goal.

Jordie Neumann and Courtney Phillips scored for Ross.

Apart from eight goals surrendered to Ross during a game when they didn’t have a goaltender, the Falcons gave up two goals during the regular season – both to GCVI in a 2-0 loss at Exhibition arena Dec. 21. Centre Wellington had won 4-0 at Fergus Nov. 15 in the season opener for both teams.

By winning their semifinals, both the Gaels and Falcons gained berths in the CWOSSA AAA tournament at Brantford March 6 and 7. The first day of the tournament will feature pool play while the second day will be the playoff round with the semifinals and gold-medal game.

The Bishop Macdonell Celtics will represent the league at the CWOSSA A/AA tournament at Owen Sound March 6 and 7. The format’s the same as the AAA tournament with pool play March 6 and the semifinals and gold-medal match March 7.