Team Ontario struggles during Challenge Cup
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.
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.