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Submitted By Denis Campbell on Tuesday, February 17, 2015
With the end of the season quickly approaching and the fate of the provincial tournament still in doubt, the Ayr Tournament of Hearts was the last chance for the U14 Sault Ice Hawks to end the regular season on a winning note and propel themselves into the Ontario U14 Provincial A Championships…and I must say the girls were up for the challenge!!  

Game one on Friday afternoon saw the Sault team in action against a young Sudbury Thunder team that as of late have been giving their opponents all they handle. The first period was one that saw good opportunities for both teams to light the lamp however stellar defense and excellent goal tending brought us to the halfway point and a 1-1 tie. The size and conditioning of our girls in the second period proved to be too much for the other northern team and the Ice Hawk moved into a lead that would not be relinquished in a 5-1 final.

The late game Friday evening gave the Hawks an opportunity to show the Mitchell Stingers that our second meeting of the season was not going to be a repeat of the first in which we dropped a 3-2 decision in London.  This game began with end to end action that continued for most of the first period but eventually the Sault girls would wear down the opposition in the second period and prevail in a 3-1 final.

Valentines Day Saturday would be a day of second chances and the opportunity to right our previous losses to both the London Lynx and the St. Catherine’s Comets…game one vs. London at the ACC was best described as “The Battle on ice”. Not only was this one of the most physical games of the tournament but it was evident early that London was determined to repeat our first meeting that resulted in a 6-1 loss. The Lynx jumped out to an early 3-1 lead before the coaching staff halted the momentum of the other side with a timely stop in the action and a chance for the home side to regroup and charge back…final score 4-4…next up St. Catherines…

The Comets have had one of the best records in the province at 11-0-1 leading into the Ayr tournament and were looking to make the playoff round with a win over the Sault…our only previous meeting had resulted in a 2-1 loss but this only fueled the Ice Hawks desire to end the semifinal hopes for the Comets and put one of the top teams in the province out for the weekend. The physical nature of the first Saturday game extended into the second game of the day and a 1-0 Ice Hawk lead held up for a 1-0 win by the end of two periods…A summary of the round robin action put our girls into second place with 3-0-1 record good for 7 points and the second seed in the playoff round.

Sunday’s semifinal game arrived early with a 9am contest against the Waterloo Wildfire whoes only other meeting this year resulted in a 2-1 loss in the London tournament. The Ice Hawks opened the scoring in the first period but Waterloo came back to tie the game before the start of the second period. Though this was one of the most exciting games our girls played in the tournament Waterloo eventually prevailed in a hard fought 2-1 final.

Heading into the Ayr Tournament of Hearts the goal was simple…make  provincials…and to that end this tournament was a success, gathering 7 of a possible 8 points ensures the Sault Ste. Marie Ice Hawks will represent our city and region in the all Ontario under 14 ringette championships to be held in Newmarket March 19-22.

Throughout the weekend the goaltending of Alyssa Desgagne and the defensive pairings of Isabelle Baril, Kaitlyn Stocks and Avy Bowman with Kayla Simms were definitely up for the challenge with the second best goals for average of the tournament. Offensively the scoring came equally from each of the forward lines including; Victoria Young with Jenna Vecchio and Darienne See…Zoey Campbell with Shelbey Walker and Meagan Rogozynski and Mackenzie Wood-Salomon with Shelby Campbell and Allison Caldwell-Pratt.

We also must take this opportunity to thank the coaching staff of Bruce Graham, Debbie Desgagne, Carl Desgagne, Marc Baril and Sara Jones for all of their hard work and dedication this season.  Best of luck in the Provincials!! GO ICE HAWKS!!

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