girls hockey

Villanova girls hockey team captures SWOSSAA championship

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The St. Thomas of Villanova girls hockey team is heading for OFSAA after winning the SWOSSAA “AAA/AAAA” title last Tuesday afternoon.

The Wildcats and the Chatham-Kent Hawks couldn’t settle things in the first three periods or in the first three overtime periods but Alessandra Schembri ended things with just 11.4 seconds left in the fourth overtime to give the Wildcats the 1-0 win.

Schembri said she pushed the puck past the Hawks’ defense and ended up on a breakaway. Stopped on her first attempt to score, she picked up the rebound and ended the game.

“Before I knew it, the puck was in the net,” said Schembri. “It was surreal. I didn’t know what happened. I was at a loss for words. I was trampled by my teammates.”

The St. Thomas of Villanova Wildcats  gather for a group  picture after capturing the SWOSSAA AAA/AAAA title last Tuesday.

The St. Thomas of Villanova Wildcats gather for a group picture after capturing the SWOSSAA AAA/AAAA title last Tuesday.

It was a fast-paced game, Schembri added, but the scoring chances were kept to a minimum.

“There wasn’t a lot of room out there but we worked hard and pushed through,” she said.

Captain Carli Dumeah motivated the team between every period, Schembri added, and “we all worked hard for her.” It was also an emotional game for the senior players, as they are in their final year of high school hockey.

Villanova head coach John Purdie pointed out that Chatham-Kent was undefeated coming into the game while the Wildcats lost only once during the season. Both teams allowed less than one goal per game during the season.

Purdie said their loss was to Chatham-Kent, a 3-1 defeat at a Christmas tournament. He said the Hawks “snuck up on us” as the Wildcats were not expecting them to be as strong as they were.

Since that game, the Wildcats made beating Chatham-Kent one of their missions this year.

“Our goal from Day 1 was to get to OFSAA and win OFSAA,” said Purdie. “We said it all year, this was a step towards the end goal.”

The Wildcats figure they can do well at OFSAA, which is March 21-24 in Mississauga. Purdie said they may be one of the smaller schools there, but they have a lot of elite players and have proven they can play with some of the best in Ontario.

Villanova’s Allison Langille (87) drives around Chatham-Kent’s Kirsten Horney during last week’s SWOSSAA title game at the Libro Centre.

Villanova’s Allison Langille (87) drives around Chatham-Kent’s Kirsten Horney during last week’s SWOSSAA title game at the Libro Centre.

“This is the most complete team we’ve ever had,” said Purdie. “The depth of this team is amazing.”

Both goalies – Kristen Swiatoschik and Erica Fryer – give the team a chance to win and Purdie believes they could medal with either of them.

The Wildcats expected the SWOSSAA final to be a tight hockey game and Purdie stressed to the players to not let a bad bounce beat them. He also credited the referees, who “did a great job letting them play.” There wasn’t a single penalty called in the game.

Players come from Amherstburg, Harrow and LaSalle, Purdie noted.

“I think this is the kind of hockey team that brings communities together,” he added.

Lady Gens start WECSSAA finals with a loss

 

 

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’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.

Lady Gens win last two regular season games, first playoff game

 

 

Special to the RTT

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens finished the regular season game strong and opened the WECSSAA playoffs on the right note.

The Lady Gens travelled to South Windsor Arena last Wednesday to play the Massey Mustangs. Playing with only ten skaters, assistant coach Dan Pettypiece said they played a solid game against a young Massey team, winning 6–0.

Scoring for Amherst were Jaycie Stanek with three, Taylor Dufour with her first high school goal, Cassidy Zelle with her first high school goal and Cate Hubbell. Megan Wismer shut down Massey for the shutout.

The Lady Gens played a rescheduled game versus Tecumseh Vista Academy in Amherstburg last Thursday. The game was supposed to have been played Jan. 23 but was postponed.

“Once again, we played with a short bench as we only had ten skaters. A fast skating Tecumseh played a very tough game against us but we were able to squeak out a 1- 0 win and finish the regular season with eight wins, zero losses and two ties,” said Pettypiece.

Scoring the goal for Amherst on a breakaway was Jaycie Stanek. Stanek had suffered a leg injury with her travel team the previous weekend but showed no signs of slowing down with a four-goal week. Megan Wismer played her usual strong game getting getting the shutout.

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General Amherst started the playoffs Monday afternoon versus the Sandwich Sabres in a quarterfinal one-game elimination game at the Libro Centre.

“The team started slow but eventually scored two goals in the second to lead 2-0 after two periods,” reported Pettypiece.

Scoring second period goals were Stanek and Savannah Bouzide.

In the third period Carly Renaud scored two goals one into an empty net to seal the victory. Getting assists in the game were Katie Stevenson, Bouzide, Hubbell and Renaud.

“It was nice to see Carly rewarded with a couple goals and three points today,” said Pettypiece. “She is consistently one of our hardest workers and has had some tough luck around the net lately.”

Wismer had another strong game between the pipes getting her third straight shutout.

Pettypiece said Monday night that the Lady Gens will tentatively start their semi-final series against the Leamington Lions this Thursday in Leamington. The second game would be back in Amherstburg Feb. 22 at 3 p.m.

Lady Gens pick up wins over Kingsville, Essex

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens picked up a pair of road wins earlier this week.

The Lady Gens began the week in Harrow for a game against the Kingsville Cavaliers. General Amherst played the game without star forward Savannah Bouzide but still came away with a 3-1 victory.

“Kingsville had come into the game on a four-game winning streak with four straight shutouts,” explained assistant coach Dan Pettypiece. “We played a very smart game after falling behind 1-0 in the first. We made some adjustments in the lineup and were able to tie the score early in the second period. Kingsville took a penalty about half way through the third and we were able to capitalize on the power play. Thirteen seconds later we scored an insurance goal and then locked it down defensively the rest of the third.”

General Amherst forward Savannah Bouzide (19) scores her team's seventh and final goal during Amherst's win in Essex last Tuesday.

General Amherst forward Savannah Bouzide (19) scores her team’s seventh and final goal during Amherst’s win in Essex last Tuesday.

Pettypiece added that Megan Wismer, making her second straight start after recovering from an upper body injury, played a very strong game in goal giving the Lady Gens a chance to weather the storm in the first period.

Leading the attack was Katie Stevenson with her first Hat trick of her hockey career.  Assisting on Katie’s goals were Jaycie Stanek (3) and Carly Renaud (2).

Defensively, Pettypiece stated that Brianne Fields, Emily Hamelin, Cate Hubbell and Abby Laframboise were very solid throughout the game “with Abby playing her best high school so far.”

Pettypiece called it “an important victory for the team” as they played with only two lines. In addition to Bouzide, Alex Laframboise was also unable to play in the Kingsville game.

“They played a smart, simple hockey game which is something coach Scott Hamelin has been stressing throughout the season,” said Pettypiece.

The Lady Gens returned to the ice the next day, defeating the Essex Red Raiders the next day at the Essex Centre Sports Complex.

Bouzide returned to the lineup and scored four goals with Stanek adding three more. Picking up assists in the game were Renaud, Emily Hamelin and Hubbell.

“We’re trying to get the idea across to them they are firing on all cylinders, they are going to be tough to beat,” said Pettypiece.

General Amherst's Carly Renaud (6) gets a scoring chance during the third period of her team's 7-1 win in Essex Jan. 17.

General Amherst’s Carly Renaud (6) gets a scoring chance during the third period of her team’s 7-1 win in Essex Jan. 17.

Three teams playing at Tier 1 level – Belle River, Leamington and L’Essor – will be dropping back to the AA level for playoffs and Pettypiece said those teams will be tough to beat. However, he believes the Lady Gens can do it if they play as they are able.

General Amherst still has a strong nucleus from last year and Pettypiece believes “they can do damage in the playoffs.” He hopes for strong efforts heading into the WECSSAA playoffs as they went into last year’s playoffs “a little stale” and that may have cost the girls a trip to OFSAA.

“It has to be a true team effort going forward,” he said. “It’s tough to stop us when we are playing well.”

They now break for exams after that and return with two regular season games, including the rescheduled game against Tecumseh Vista Academy. That game was to be played Jan. 23 but was postponed due to an equipment failure at the Libro Centre.

General Amherst girls hockey team downs St. Joseph 7-1

 

By Ron Giofu

The General Amherst Lady Gens girls hockey team remained undefeated after beating St. Joseph last Thursday.

The Lady Gens improved to 4-0-2 (ten points) on the season, after downing the Lasers 7-1 at the Libro Centre. Savannah Bouzide led the offense with three goals while Emily Pontini scored a pair. Katie Stevenson and Jaycie Stanek also scored in the winning effort by the Lady Gens.

Lady Gens forward Emily Pontini (2) scores a first period goal against the St. Joseph Lasers last Thursday afternoon at the Libro Centre. Pontini scored twice in General Amherst’s victory

Lady Gens forward Emily Pontini (2) scores a first period goal against the St. Joseph Lasers last Thursday afternoon at the Libro Centre. Pontini scored twice in General Amherst’s victory

It was the first game back for goalie Megan Wismer, who missed four games with a concussion.

Assistant coach Dan Pettypiece recalled the early days of the General Amherst program when they were on the other end of scores like that. He said St. Joseph started the game with only eight skaters and the Lady Gens did their best not to run up the score yet work on some things at the same time.

Pettypiece said those types of games are “tough to play” as the team in front wants to respect the other team.

“In the second half of the game, we cycled the puck and did a lot of passing,” he said. “We tried to stay within a certain level and work on things we can work on late in the game.”

Savannah Bouzide (19) gets a scoring chance for General Amherst in her team's 7-1 victory of St. Joseph Jan. 12. Bouzide led the offense with three goals.

Savannah Bouzide (19) gets a scoring chance for General Amherst in her team’s 7-1 victory of St. Joseph Jan. 12. Bouzide led the offense with three goals.

Pettypiece said he told the St. Joseph team to “stick with it” and have fun if they are not having a good season. He recalled the Lady Gens’ struggles when the program began and said they attracted good players to become a contending team. High school hockey can be cyclical, he noted, depending on the number of players coming up through the sport’s ranks.

The Lady Gens have two road games this week against Kingsville (in Harrow) and then in Essex. The team’s head coach is Scott Hamelin with Jason Laframboise being the other assistant coach. Nicole Rusenstrom is the teacher rep.