Ross Royals finish fourth at OFSAA tournament

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

CAMBRIDGE – Fourth place, it just doesn’t have a good sound to it.

“We’re fourth in the province,” Ross coach Ted Wilson said. “We made it to the medal round and we can call ourselves one of the four best teams in the province. That’s a great honour. We gave it all we had and I’m very proud of these girls. They’re an exceptional group of young women.”

A few days from now, fourth place might sound pretty good to the Ross Royals. Right now, it’s a little disappointing.

“We’ve done some amazing things,” Wilson said. “We made history for our school. We won D10 for the first time. We won CWOSSA for the first time and we’re one of the top four teams at OFSAA. We’re very happy. In a couple of days these girls are going to think, ‘Wow, we really did something special.’”

The 10th-seed Royals dropped two games Friday at the Hespeler Memorial Arena on the final day of the OFSAA provincial high school girls’ AAA hockey championship tournament.

Ross was downed 7-1 by the top-seed and defending champion Medway Cowboys of Arva in the semifinals and then was blanked 3-0 by the Brooklin Bears in the bronze-medal match. Seventh-seed St. Maximilion Kolbe Mustangs of Aurora nipped third-seed Brooklin 3-2 in the other semifinal.

“All four of these teams are top-level teams,” Wilson said. “If you get that momentum going, hockey’s a tremendous game of momentum and once you lose that momentum, it’s so difficult to get it back. Unfortunately, we did lose momentum in that first game this morning and it was hard to reset, retool and get back to what we’re capable of doing although in this game, they scored twice in the first period, only once in the second and we shut them down in the third period. We’re proud of being able to hold our heads high.”

Medway led Ross 2-0 at the end of the first period in their semifinal and 3-1 after the second.

Aniela Breen scored what would turn out to be the lone Ross goal of the day in the game while Keegan Camp assisted on the play.

Katherine Heard had a hat trick for Medway while Erin Ross had a goal and four assists. Melanie Clayton collected a goal and an assist while Jaci Solomon and Cassidy Heckman also scored and single assists were given to Catherine Dodds, Michaela Landes, Danielle Clerc, Mackenzee VanHooydonk and Sonja Simioni.

The game proved to be costly for the Royals as they lost forward Olivia Sarabura for the bronze-medal match when she was checked late in the game with Medway up by five goals and she struck her head on the ice. Sarabura, who had scored four goals earlier in the tournament, was held out of the medal match for precautionary measures.

Goaltender Martina Doyle was also shaken up in the game against Medway, but she soldiered through the medal match.

In the bronze-medal game, Brooklin defeated the Royals for the second time in 26 hours as the Bears had edged Ross 2-1 in pool play Thursday.

Both the Royals and Bears had little time to prepare for the bronze-medal match as it started about an hour and a half after the end of their semifinal games.

Brooklin scored twice in the first period and once in the second and Taylor Beam picked up the shutout.

Claire O’Donoghue tallied twice and Chloe Hunt had the other goal. Jordan Dean had two assists and Jenna Weaver, Daniella Calabrese and Kate MacDonell each had one.

The Royals gained their berth in the playoff round by finishing second in their pool with a 1-1-1 record. Ross defeated Barrie Eastview 3-2 in the quarter-finals to advance to the semifinals.

Medway kept its title with a 3-1 win over seventh-seed St. Maximilion Kolbe Mustangs of Aurora in the gold-medal match.