By Ron Giofu
The General Amherst Lady Gens didn’t start the WECSSAA AA girls hockey final the way they wanted but will look to regroup this week.
The Lady Gens hosted L’Essor Monday afternoon at the Libro Centre in Game 1 of the finals but lost 3-1. Cate Hubbell’s goal with just 33.2 seconds left in the third period was the lone goal for Amherst.
“They seemed to be fighting the puck today,” said assistant coach Dan Pettypiece. “We didn’t get any flow going.”
The players have to understand they will no longer have the time and space they had earlier in the season against weaker teams and have to bear down and make good plays with the puck. They can’t get down on themselves and have to take the extra half-second to make the play instead of rushing with the puck.
The Lady Gens hadn’t allowed a goal in the playoffs until Monday and Pettypiece said they can’t just expect goalie Megan Wismer to carry them every night. Other players have to step up as well.
General Amherst’s Katie Stevenson (15, yellow jersey) pulls away from Leamington defenders during semi-final action last Wednesday afternoon at the Libro Centre.
General Amherst made it to the finals thanks to a two-game sweep in the WECSSAA semi-finals. The Lady Gens polished off the Leamington Lions in the semi-finals last Wednesday at the Libro Centre after winning Game 1 in Leamington a week earlier.
Much like they did the previous week in Leamington, the Lady Gens got a goal from Savannah Bouzide and a shutout from goalie Megan Wismer and won a 1-0 decision. Bouzide’s goal in the second game of the best-of-three series came late in the second period.
“It feels awesome,” said captain Emily Hamelin after beating Leamington. “They were really close games.”
Emily said they went the extra mile and drove to the net but said they need to get more shots and work harder at getting the puck out of their own end in an effort to generate more offense.
The Lady Gens were thrilled about getting back to the WECSSAA final for the fourth straight year.
“No one really thought we could get here,” said Emily.
Amherst head coach Scott Hamelin said the girls earned the trip to the finals. He said they played their best hockey of the second game against the Lions in the third period.
The entire team, from the Grade 9 players to the Grade 12 players, all pulled together, Scott added.
“They all did their part and they all competed well,” he said.
Wismer played well and that helped them overcome a very good Leamington team, Scott stated. He said the team showed a lot of character and it paid off.
They need to stop panicking with the puck and be less nervous with it, he added, and that will help them get the puck out of their zone and create offense. Simplifying and taking care of their own end will translate into good things, he said.
Winning games like the two against Leamington will help in the long run, Scott said after last Wednesday’s game, as it gives the players more experience on what to do in pressure situations.
“This team always finds a way to win,” he said after the Leamington series.
Game 2 against L’Essor will be in Tecumseh today and Game 3, if necessary, will be at the Libro Centre Thursday at 2:30 p.m.