Roverines rise above
Under-20 female team captures provincial championship in convincing style
A formidable female hockey team comprised of players from three minor associations in the region — Bay Arena, CeeBees and Trinity-Placentia — captured the under-20 provincial championship in convincing style earlier this month on home ice in Bay Roberts.
The Roverines thumped arch-rivals Conception Bay Regional Renegades 5-0 in the final on Sunday, March 17, completing a strong performance at the five-team tournament, and proving that female hockey in the Trinity Conception region is alive and well.
“These are all very talented players,” team manager Jeff Caravan stated following the tournament. “They’re all very experienced and many have played at very high levels of the game, including Canada Games.”
The Roverines went into the tournament as one of the teams favoured to win it all, along with St. John’s and CBR.
Powered by the high-scoring prowess of Natalie Keeping, who led all tournament point-getters with seven goals and two assists, the veteran leadership of Taylor Anderson and Becky Cahill, and standout goaltending from the tandem of Courtney Caravan and Claire Newhook, the Roverines were all but unstoppable.
It was a satisfying result for a core group of players that had settled for four silver and one bronze over the past five years, and had grown accustomed to watching their counterparts from CBR skate away with the gold.
“They really jelled this year and came together as a team,” Caravan added.
The only blemish on the road to gold was a hard fought and feisty 4-3 loss to CBR in the final game of the round-robin, despite a two-goal performance by Dana Thorne.
This resulted in a three-way tie between St. John’s, Roverines and CBR for top spot. All three finished with 3-1 records.
But tie-breaking procedures eliminated St. John’s, setting up another head-to-head encounter in the final between the Roverines and CBR.
The Roverines, however, were not to be denied in the final, with Alicia Gillam leading the charge with two goals and an assist.
The home team held a 2-0 lead after two periods, with goals off the sticks of Anderson and Gillam.
Any concerns about a CBR comeback in the third were dashed between periods when Anderson, who is aging out of the program, rallied her teammates in the dressing room.
Anderson said she had been playing for 15 years, and had only 15 minutes left in her minor hockey career. She didn’t want it to end on a losing note.
“The girls all went quiet,” Jeff Caravan stated. “They got into a big circle in the dressing room and you could see them coming together as a team.
“They went out in the third period with complete focus and shut them down. It was beautiful,” he added. Gillam, Taylor Quinlan and Brooke Williamson added insurance markers in the third period. Newhook posted the shutout, turning aside the 11 shots she faced. The Roverines peppered the CBR net with 33 shots.
The turning point of the tourney for the Roverines came in Game 3, against St. John’s.
Both teams were well-matched, with the Roverines holding a slim 2-1 lead in the final minutes when the referee awarded a penalty shot
to St. John’s.
Caravan came up big on the play, and the Roverines later scored an empty-netter to secure a 3-1 victory.
Keeping had two tallies, while Anderson chipped in with a single.
The Roverines also posted round-robin wins over Lake Melville (7-1) and Labrador West (7-3), with Keeping recording a five-point game against Lake Melville (three goals and two helpers).
Meanwhile, the three associations appear to have found a winning formula in their unique partnership. At the beginning of each hockey season, officials compare notes on registration levels at the under-12, under-15 and under-20 female divisions.
At the under-20 level, neither association had enough to ice a team this season, so a partnership was established, and it was decided the team would be based at the Bay Arena. Last season, the team was based in Whitbourne.
“I think they will be a team of the future, for sure,” said Caravan, noting that only two players are not returning.
Goalkeeper Courtney Caravan speaks with the coaching staff during an intermission. Dana Thorne had a two-goal performance in a 4-3 round-robin loss to CBR.
Members of the Roverines under-20 female hockey team include: Front (l-r) — Courtney Caravan and Claire Newhook (goalies); second row — coach Erin Earle, Becky Cahill, Taylor Quinlan, Kayla LeDrew, Taylor Anderson, Alicia Gillam, Susan Harding and Noelle Russell; back — coach Bud Chafe, Regan Morris, Brooke Williamson, Karissa Bradbury, Natalie Keeping, Dana Thorne, Chelsee Bradbury, Tara Hefford, Nicole Bannister, manager Jeff Caravan, Paige Hiscock, coach Ian Norris and trainer Stan Keeping.
Brooke Williamson follows the action from the bench.
Coach Ian Norris tries to inspire his players during a late-game timeout. At right is coach Erin Earle.
Referee David Crane (right) raises his arm to indicate a roughing penalty to Roverines’ defenceman Nicole Bannister.
Bud Chafe of Harbour Grace was invited onto the bench as a guest coach during the tournament. Chafe helped pioneer female hockey in the region.
LEFT: Lauren Donaldson (centre) of the CBR Renegades is helped to the bench following a big collision in front of the Roverines’ bench.