National broomball gold for Lauzon
BY SEAN BRAY Sports Editor At just 18 years of age, Josée Lauzon has a national senior broomball gold to her name, as her team, the Eastern Ontario-based Vipers won the Canadian title, in Cornwall, over the defending champion Eastern Rebels.
As Lauzon describes it, the ladies were in tough against the Rebels, trailing 2-0 midway through the second period (broomball games have just two periods).
Finally, she says, the Vipers found the target to get on the scoreboard, and there was hope: “we can do this.”
Still behind late, the Vipers pulled their goaltender in favour of an additional attacker, and it worked, as they tied the contest with four seconds left on the clock.
In overtime, on the second successive power play for the Vipers, they scored, claiming gold on a 3-2 decision.
For Lauzon, who will graduate this spring from École secondaire catholique le Relais, life is pretty much all about broomball.
She caught the bug when she was young, watching her father and older brother play the game. She’s played competitively since the age of 13, competing at numerous national tournaments at the juvenile (U20 level).
In fact, earlier this month, Lauzon was with her juvenile team, the Eastern Thunder, which won B-side silver at nationals, in Rivière-duLoup.
The largely young team found itself in a tough pool with the best squads in the country, finishing in a three-way tie for second. A series of mini games was used to break the deadlock, pushing the Thunder to third place and into the B gold game, where the ladies fell to a squad from Saskatchewan.
Despite the loss, Lauzon says the players learned from the experience and will be better prepared next year, aiming to have an even strong showing at nationals, which will be held in Ottawa.
As for her play with the Vipers, she was one of two juvenile-aged players (and the only high schooler) called up to join the women, a number of whom are several years her senior and with families.
The Vipers were one of three Ontario teams competing in the Elite Ladies division at senior nationals, which were held April 1013, in Cornwall.
The Eastern Rebels earned their berth as defending champs (in fact they won the title each of the last two years), while OSS was there as Team Ontario. The Vipers got a spot as tournament host.
In the round robin, the Rebels topped the field with a 6-1 record, followed by the Vipers (5-2), OSS (4-3), the Huskies from Quebec (3-3), the Dynamite from Quebec (2-5), and Saskatchewan’s Odessa Storm (0-6).
Janessa Byers, of the Vipers, led overall with 6 goals, while goaltender Cashelle Baldwin had three shutouts, finishing in a three-way tie in this category. She also had the second best goals against average, at 1.00.
Other Vipers team members are Brittany Norman, Jessica Nash, Alex Roach, Chelsea Sanders, Jasmine Namagoose, Courtney MacDonald, Sara-Lee Pynenburg, Blaire Burnett (who has a sister on the Rebels roster), Melissa Norman, Justine Hughes (sister of Byers), Jasmine Leclerc, Selena Bergeron, Lauren Robertson, Caroline Ranger, Veronique Cayer, Roxanne Lauzon (no relation), and Carlee Coburn.
Team staff is Brian Rombough (head coach), Leah Billingham (assistant coach), and Barry Billingham (trainer).
On a person level, one of the highlights for Lauzon was the location of the tournament, as it allowed for a slew of family members to attend, joining the crowd in the jam-packed stands.
The victory earns the Vipers the title of Team Canada, though the world tournament only takes place every second year, so this
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season is now over.
Their triumph this year, though, does earn the ladies an automatic berth at the 2020 nationals, which be held in Saskatchewan.
Lauzon will be attending St. Lawrence College this fall, studying in the RPN (nursing) program.
Of course, she will also continue to play broomball too. More immediately, she plans to keep in top form by participating in Alexandria’s ladies ball hockey league and riding her new dirt bike.