Go­ing out in style

As­cen­sion Astros win AAAA girls ball hockey gold

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NICHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

The girls’ AAAA ball hockey cham­pi­onship game be­tween the As­cen­sion Col­le­giate Astros and the Mount Pearl Huskies was look­ing like it was des­tined to go for over­time at As­cen­sion Col­le­giate in Bay Roberts on April 27.

Astros goal­tender Court­ney Car­a­van and her Mount Pearl coun­ter­part kept their teams in the game with big save af­ter big save and the game was dead­locked at three goals apiece with just un­der a minute re­main­ing in the sec­ond half of play.

Then Astros cap­tain Chelsea Brad­bury scored a mir­a­cle goal.

Pick­ing up the ball just over mid-court on the Astros side, Brad­bury spun and fired at the Mount Pearl goal.

The shot found its way through a maze of legs and no less than four bod­ies, in­clud­ing the op­pos­ing goal­tender, strik­ing the bot­tom bar and the back of the net.

As the gym­na­sium around her erupted in a mix­ture of screams and pos­i­tive emo­tions, Brad­bury had not re­al­ized it went in.

When she did, she let out a pri­mal scream and turned to face some of her team­mates on the As­cen­sion bench.

“First, I just see ev­ery­one and I hear ev­ery­one and then it hits me, and I just know it went it in,” said Brad­bury.

The Astros would ride out the last 53 sec­onds en route to the school’s third provin­cial girls AAAA ball hockey cham­pi­onship and first since 2006-2007.

Natalie Keep­ing, with a pair, and Brooke Wil­liamson would also score for the win­ning team.

Re­al­ity still has not set in for the Level III ath­lete and Bay Roberts res­i­dent.

Brad­bury has played with the se­nior high team since she was in Grade 8 at nearby Amal­ga­mated Acad­emy.

In the five years she has been with the team, this was her first taste of provin­cial ball hockey gold.

So, it’s fit­ting that Brad­bury was the one to score the game-win­ning goal in her last high school tour­na­ment.

Even think­ing about the game-win­ning tally causes Brad­bury to pause.

“I don’t even know how to de­scribe it,” she said. “Even just think­ing about it now makes me feel good.”

Team ef­fort

While Brad­bury scored the medal-clinch­ing goal, she was quick to shine the spot­light on the rest of her team­mates.

“It was a team ef­fort,” she said.

All mem­bers of the team had a hand in the vic­tory. Whether it was the play­ers on the back end or the for­wards, each player had a role to play.

Brad­bury said the team fo­cused on pro­tect­ing its own end, while putting pres­sure on the other team.

Af­ter sur­viv­ing the ini­tial push from Mount Pearl, the Astros set­tled down and played its game.

Get­ting a cou­ple of key saves from its goal­tender, As­cen­sion grinded out the vic­tory.

Long time com­ing

For Brad­bury, and the rest of the se­niors on the team, the AAAA vic­tory was a long time com­ing. Af­ter nar­rowly miss­ing out on the gold medal last year, the Astros were chomp­ing at the bit to get an­other chance.

The Astros lost to the cham­pion Cres­cent Col­le­giate Coy­otes, in Blake­town, 4-3 in that cham­pi­onship game. As­cen­sion avenged that loss by beat­ing the favoured Cres­cent team in the re­gional play­downs this year to clinch its spot in the provin­cials.

The Coy­otes had pre­vi­ously com­peted in the 2011 fi­nal, pick­ing up a sil­ver medal.

So, how does it feel to win a provin­cial ti­tle in your last year of high school com­pe­ti­tion?

“It’s a high that you can’t even de­scribe,” said Brad­bury, fight­ing back tears.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Pho­tos by Nicholas Mercer/the Com­pass

Astros goal­tender Court­ney Car­a­van keeps her eye on the ball in or­der to make a save in the cham­pi­onship against Mount Pearl.

The As­cen­sion Col­le­giate Astros girls’ ball hockey team bested the Mount Pearl Huskies 4-3 to cap­ture the AAAA provin­cial cham­pi­onship on April 27 at As­cen­sion Col­le­giate in Bay Roberts. Here the team is shown with Port de Grave MHA Glenn Lit­tle­john (cen­tre). Mem­bers of the team are: front (l-r) — April Squires and goal­tender Court­ney Car­a­van; back — coach Fred Simms, Emily Par­sons, Jenna Pham, Lisa Brad­bury, Natalie Keep­ing, Chelsee Brad­bury, Court­ney Pet­ten, Brooke Wil­liamson, Tay­lor Quinlan, Kaila LeDrew, Cai­ley Drover and coach Lisa Pen­ney.

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