Eastern takes title in overtime
Beats Avalon in 3-2 in girls’ ball hockey thriller
It was one for the ages. Girls’ ball hockey teams from Eastern and Avalon squared off in a titanic battle for gold at the 2012 NL Summer Games on Saturday in Harbour Grace, with Eastern prevailing in a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory.
It was a classic match-up between the favoured, and quasi-home team Avalon squad, and the underdog Eastern entry.
Avalon got on the board first at 5:34 of the opening half when Terri-Lynn Hoskins took a pass from Megan Normore and buried the ball in the net behind Eastern goaltender Maria Stone.
That was it for the scoring in the first half, as Avalon put the pressure on Eastern, but could not crack Stone in the goal.
The second half started much of the same
Avalon put some pressure on Eastern, but Stone again stood her ground to keep her team in the game.
With 7:33 remaining in the game, Hoskins again beat Stone to put Avalon up 2-0. At that point, it seemed Avalon would hold on for the victory.
But in sports, just as in life, anything can happen, and it did.
Eastern got back in the game when Crystal Mouland of Bonavista jammed a loose ball past Avalon keeper Claire Newhook at 7:03.
Four minutes later, Nicole Warren beat Newhook, tying the game at 2-2.
In overtime, Avalon dominated much of the action, but Eastern were not to be denied.
Angela Mackey took advantage of a defensive miscue, sliding a pass from Jenny Connolly past Newhook.
Eastern players swarmed Mackey, while coach and Harbour Grace native Stacey Moriarty dashed for his goaltender.
“She’s been with me for three years, and to finally get her a championship,” he said with emotion showing in his voice.
In getting to the championship, Eastern had to overcome some difficulties.
“I hadn’t met most of the players until Wednesday,” said Moriarty.
Despite that, the team went undefeated through the tournament, putting up four wins, no losses and one tie, which came against Avalon in the round-robin.
It was a homecoming of sorts for Moriarty.
“To come home and take one away from the semi-home team was special,” he said.
Mackey said after giving up a two-goal advantage, the morale on the bench was at a low point.
“It kind of felt like everyone had given up, but then a couple of players brought the motivation up and everyone started to pick up their game,” she said.
Avalon head coach Jeff Garland said his team was disappointed to not get the gold.
“Before we went out there I said, ‘If you wake up tomorrow and in your mind you know that there was nothing you could’ve done different then it doesn’t matter what the outcome of the game was,’” he said. “I still thought we were the better team.”
Members of the silver medallist Avalon girls’ ball hockey team include, in no particular order: Alicia Gillam (Whitbourne), Chelsee Bradbury (Bay Roberts), Claire Newhook (Dildo), Dana Thorne (New Harbour), Jenna Pham (South River), Natalie Keeping (Bay Roberts), Noelle Russell (Blaketown), TerriLynn Hoskins (New Harbour), Cassy Young (CBS), Courtney Foote (CBS), Kathy Normore (CBS), Kayla Dupont (Paradise), Marissa Keating (Long Harbour), Megan Normore (CBS), Nicole Blanche (Dunville), and Victoria Healey (Holyrood).
Natalie Keeping (centre) of Bay Roberts forces her way through traffic during Aug. 24 round-robin action in girls’ ball hockey at the 2012 NL Summer Games. Keeping and her Avalon teammates notched an easy 7-0 win over the host squad. Also pictured here are, from left, Kate Pike of Harbour Grace, Alicia Gilliam of Whitbourne (background) and Erin Jones of Harbour Grace.