Team On­tario strug­gles dur­ing Chal­lenge Cup

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - SPORTS -

The on­tario ringette squad for the canada Games took to the ice in Pick­er­ing last week­end in their sec­ond chal­lenge cup in prepa­ra­tion for Fe­bru­ary’s canada Win­ter Games in red deer, alta.

This would be their only tour­na­ment in our home prov­ince, and the crowds and sup­port were fan­tas­tic.

This tour­na­ment in­cluded the three top teams from the chal­lenge cup in Win­nipeg two months pre­vi­ous: on­tario, Que­bec and man­i­toba, so there­fore on­tario was chal­lenged, since Que­bec and man­i­toba were the only two teams to beat on­tario thus far.

in their first game Fri­day morn­ing, on­tario faced Que­bec.

on­tario dom­i­nated ring posses­sion and scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, how­ever, this did not trans­late onto the score­board.

Que­bec was able to cap­i­tal­ize on their scor­ing chances and were up 3-1 at the half, on the back of their goal­tender, eve­lyne mar­tel.

This trend con­tin­ued, with mar­tel stand­ing on her head, help­ing her team ex­tend their lead and lead­ing Que­bec to vic­tory 7-1.

Que­bec gen­eral man­ager michel la­ten­dresse agreed the score did not re­flect the game and their goal­tender mar­tel was the key to the game.

The sec­ond game for on­tario saw them dom­i­nate against Nova sco­tia, win­ning 10-2.

lead­ing the team with three goals was emma Kelly, as well as four-point per­for­mances from laura soper and Tim­mins’ own syd­ney da­ge­nais.

in their fi­nal round-robin game, on­tario faced the tal­ented man­i­toba squad. on­tario came out strong and took ad­van­tage of their scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and things were look­ing good, as they led 4-1 en­ter­ing the fourth quar­ter.

how­ever, a mo­men­tum shift oc­curred and on­tario could not stop three unan­swered goals from man­i­toba.

both teams ex­changed a to­tal of 37 shots and ring posses­sion was rel­a­tively equal (53% for on­tario, 47% for man­i­toba), which was re­flec­tive of the 4-4 fi­nal score. on­tario’s record of 1-1-1 left them in third place and play­ing sec­ond­place Que­bec in the semi-fi­nal.

The semi-fi­nal saw Que­bec cap­i­tal­ize on scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and take a 3-1 lead into the sec­ond quar­ter on a buzzer-beater from sara Plouffe.

Team Que­bec this time dom­i­nated ring posses­sion and on­tario gave up too many scor­ing chances.

The score dou­bled by half­time to 6-2.

The third quar­ter saw two more Que­bec goals by megane Fortin and is­abella larocque, and the game seemed all but over at 8-2.

how­ever, on­tario showed their re­solve and with a flurry of goals, most within the las 6 min­utes of the game, they brought the score to within one at 9-8.

on­tario kept press­ing in the last 90 sec­onds and scored two dis­al­lowed goals — un­be­liev­ably so, be­cause of crease vi­o­la­tions.

The score re­mained 9-8 and Que­bec moved on to the gold medal game against man­i­toba, while on­tario played Nova sco­tia for bronze.

in the bronze-medal game, on­tario could not get any­thing go­ing of­fen­sively and they strug­gled de­fen­sively.

Nova sco­tia kept rack­ing up the goals and near­ing the end of the third quar­ter, they were lead­ing 8-1.

how­ever, on­tario showed re­silience once again and were not go­ing to give up. They fought their way back into the game with six unan­swered goals, the last of those on from the stick of claire Wyville with two min­utes left to play, to bring the game within one goal, at 8-7.

on­tario con­tin­ued to pres­sure the Nova sco­tians, but could not tie the game up. Nova sco­tia hung on for the bronze medal.

There are a few take­aways for Team on­tario in this tour­na­ment: de­fen­sively, they re­al­ize they must limit the other teams qual­ity scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties — es­pe­cially on the no­to­ri­ous “back door.”

They also know they can come from be­hind to chal­lenge even the best teams when forced to be­cause of their ex­plo­sive of­fence.

da­ge­nais plays for­ward for the squad and was an im­por­tant part of that of­fence, fin­ish­ing in the top three on the team in points.

she is grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity to rep­re­sent her prov­ince, learn­ing and play­ing with such qual­ity team­mates and coaches.

Team on­tario is re­group­ing and look­ing for­ward to the third and fi­nal prepara­tory chal­lenge cup in Pier­re­fonds, Que., from Jan. 3-6.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Tim­mins na­tive Syd­ney Da­ge­nais and her Team On­tario team­mates did not fare too well at the sec­ond of three Chal­lenge Cups in prepa­ra­tion for the Canada Win­ter Games in Red Deer, Alta. Af­ter fin­ish­ing roundrobin play with a record of 1-1-1, they dropped an 8-7 de­ci­sion to Nova Sco­tia in the bronze-medal game at the event in Pick­er­ing.

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