Royals hockey girls vault to top of D10 league

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – The Ross Royals were aiming for first place in the District 10 high school girls’ hockey league standings and they grabbed top spot with a 5-1 win over the Lourdes Crusaders Wednesday at Exhibition arena.

The Royals have been improving every season and became contenders last season and remain so this season.

“This is my fifth season on the team. I’m in 12-plus now,” Ross captain Aniela Breen said. “We’ve just been progressing. When I was in Grade 9, we were not a very good team so definitely this year we’re going for it. We just firmed up first place so it should be good.”

The win puts the Royals two points clear of the defending champion Centre Wellington Falcons. However, Centre Wellington has two games in hand.

While the final score was a four-goal advantage for the Royals, that wasn’t indicative of the closeness of the game. Two goals in the third period gave Ross a little breathing room.

“We definitely played really hard,” Breen said. “We only had six forwards and four D so it was definitely a tight bench. We have a lot of players hurt now, so hopefully we can have them back for the next few games.

“Lourdes put up a really good fight.”

While the Royals were short players Wednesday, that’s something they’ve been dealing with throughout the season.

“We never play in games with the same people and we never have the same lines all the time,” Breen said. “That’s probably the thing that’s killed us the most is inconsistent play.”

Like all teams in the league, the Royals have had to deal with injuries and absences due to work schedules and rep hockey commitments.

The Crusaders connected first early in the opening period, but held the lead for less than a minute as Ross tied it 59 seconds later and went ahead for good with just over two minutes to go in the first.

The Royals added to their lead with a goal in the second and rounded it out with two in the third.

Taylor Doyle and Keegan Camp tallied twice each for Ross while Skylar Simm had a goal and an assist. Also picking up one assist each were Cass Gordon, Aniela Breen, Emma Walker and Avery Lomax.

Grace Blamauer scored for Lourdes with an assist going to Lauren Carscadden.

The loss was the first of the season for Lourdes in its return to the league after a season off.

Ross leads the standings at 4-1-2 and is followed by Centre Wellington at 3-0-2, Centennial Spartans and Lourdes each at 2-1-2, St. James Lions at 2-2-2, Guelph CVI Green Gaels at 2-4-1 and Bishop Macdonell Celtics at 0-6-1.

Centennial and Centre Wellington are to play Thursday at Fergus.