John Purdie

Wildcats have great run at OFSAA despite not winning a medal

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

The St. Thomas of Villanova Wildcats didn’t win a medal at the OFSAA girls hockey championship, but their head coach still sounds pleased with the team.

The Wildcats went to the provincial championship in Mississauga last week. They won one game and lost two others in very close fashion.

“Great run but no medal,” said head coach John Purdie.

Villanova lost their first game at OFSAA to Medway, the eventual gold medal team, by a score of 1-0.

“They scored with four seconds left in the game,” said Purdie.

Game #2 saw the Wildcats defeat Napanee by a score of 3-1.  The Wildcats’ goal scorers were Brooke Gibson, Allison Langille and Avery Mertz.

The St. Thomas of Villanova Wildcats competed at OFSAA last week. The team advanced to the provincial tournament thanks to winning SWOSSAA (pictured here).

The St. Thomas of Villanova Wildcats competed at OFSAA last week. The team advanced to the provincial tournament thanks to winning SWOSSAA (pictured).

The third game was another heartbreaker for Villanova as the Wildcats lost 2-1 with the winning goal coming with 1:32 left in the game.

“It seems like we were snake bit,” said Purdie. “Mertz scored again. Our goaltending was phenomenal, (Erica) Fryer and (Kristen) Swiatoschik and Harrow’s Carli Dumeah really carried the team. We shut down on the back end and our captain’s leadership skills were the key to our whole run.”

The Wildcats advanced to OFSAA by winning SWOSSAA over Chatham-Kent 1-0 in quadruple overtime at the Libro Centre March 7.

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.

Audit & finance committee reviews accomplishments, outlines goals

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town’s audit and finance committee has reviewed its 2015 accomplishments and outlined its 2016 goals.

A report co-authored by committee chair John Purdie and director of corporate services/treasurer Justin Rousseau was submitted to council and outlined the committee’s past year and what it is looking forward to undertaking.

The committee lists its three major accomplishments in 2015 as the report and presentation to council on the 2014 audited financial statements, the report and presentation to council on the 2016 operating, capital, water and wastewater budgets and the preliminary work for a financial review on the Libro Centre.

“The committee undertook the preliminary comparison of Libro Centre operational

budget and actual results since its completion in 2010. It also compared the Libro

Centre’s operational budget and actual results with a neighbouring complex,” the report states. “After the preliminary review, the committee wanted to compare it to other neighbouring and like complexes from around the province. There was also a request for additional information on utilization rates. The committee is still working on this initiative.”

The committee is focusing its work on utilization rates and ideas on how to create additional revenue to cover expenditure.

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The audit and finance committee also stated that it prepared a report to review some of the major highlights of the 2014 financial statements and completed an analysis of the weighted average of interest the municipality is paying. The committee performed “a high level review of operations” to outline major factors and expenditures and made recommendations on future financing plans.

The committee also prepared a report for council and provided recommendations on the 2016 budget.

“For the first time in the town’s history, a committee was able to share their opinion on the focus of the municipality allocation of budgetary funds,” the report from Rousseau and Purdie states. “The committee also reviewed the town’s reorganization report outlining the need for additional resources within the organization.”

Goals for this year include reviewing the 2017 budget and developing a long-term financial plan in conjunction with the strategic plan.

The strategic plan is due to come back before town council Sept. 12. Once it is approved, the next step for the audit and finance committee will be to tailor the long-term financial plan “and the allocation of funding resources to deliver the desired results of the community strategic plan.”

Wildcats swept by St. Anne in WECSSAA AAA/AAAA final

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The news was bad in the short term for the St. Thomas of Villanova girl’s hockey team but their future appears to be bright.

The Wildcats dropped two straight in the WECSSAA AAA/AAAA final to the St. Anne Saints earlier this week with that meaning the Saints skated away with the title that Villanova won last year.

Villanova coach John Purdie said they played well in Game 2, played Tuesday afternoon at the Libro Centre.

“We outshot them 24-16,” said Purdie. “The girls executed well as a team. It just seemed that we couldn’t get the goals when we needed them.”

Alyssa Matton scored for Villanova in Tuesday’s game, a goal which turned out to be the Wildcats’ lone goal of the series as they were shut out 4-0 on the road in Monday’s first game. St. Anne’s Sierra Moscone scored the series-winning goal, which was her second of the game. The goal came as a result of a scramble around the Villanova goal.

“(St. Anne) is a team of all seniors and Grade 11’s,” said Purdie. “We are mostly Grade 9 and 10’s.”

The St. Thomas of Villanova girls hockey team gather as a team after a recent game at the Libro Centre. The team lost two straight to St. Anne in the WECSSAA AAA/AAAA hockey final.

The St. Thomas of Villanova girls hockey team gather as a team after a recent game at the Libro Centre. The team lost two straight to St. Anne in the WECSSAA AAA/AAAA hockey final.

Despite the loss this year, Purdie said the coming years appear to be bright for the Wildcats because of their youth.

“They have got a great future together,” said Purdie.

The Wildcats lose two players this year to graduation – captain Olivia Giannotti and Jacklyn Yewchyn – a number that is down from last year where Purdie said they lost quite a few players.

“We didn’t think we’d be in this position this year,” said Purdie. “It was a surprise how many good players came to school this year.”

Purdie said the goal is always to send the seniors off with an OFSAA title so not doing that this year is a disappointment. Villanova has built a standard of excellence, he said, where they always want to win championships.

The Wildcats were gracious in defeat, though.

“I got to congratulate St. Anne. This was their year,” said Purdie. “They have a strong club. I wish them all the best at SWOSSAA.”

Wildcats make WECSSAA AAA/AAAA final after beating Holy Names

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The St. Thomas of Villanova girls hockey team have made the WECSSAA AAA/AAAA final after surviving a scare against Holy Names.

The Wildcats dropped the first game of the best-of-three series last Tuesday at the Libro Centre last Tuesday 4-3 with Avery Mertz scoring all three Villanova goals. Mertz and Alessandra Schembri scored in a 2-0 win the next day at South Windsor Arena before the Wildcats completed the comeback with a 5-1 win last Thursday afternoon back at the Libro Centre.

Allessandra Schembri pursues a loose puck during third period action of Villanova’s series clinching win over Holy Names last week at the Libro Centre.

Allessandra Schembri pursues a loose puck during third period action of Villanova’s series clinching win over Holy Names last week at the Libro Centre.

Jacklynn Yewchyn had two for the Wildcats in Game 3 with Mertz, Kim Primeau and Olivia Giannotti also scoring for Villanova.

“Holy Names really had me worried,” said Villanova coach John Purdie. “They executed so well.”

Purdie believes the Wildcats may have overlooked Holy Names.

“We underestimated them and we thought it was going to be a stepping stone,” he said.

The Wildcats now play the St. Anne Saints in this week’s best-of-three final. Purdie said it is a match-up of a young team in Villanova that is trying to keep their title against a Grade 12-laden team in St. Anne who want their players to go out on top.

Yewchyn said she was happy to get two goals in the clinching game.

“I never score so it was an awesome feeling to get two goals,” she said.

Yewchyn said she is “pretty excited to play St. Anne” and believes the rest of her team is as well.

Mertz said they are trying to win it for their seniors, adding it is two years in a row where they will be playing the Saints.

“It’s going to go either way,” said Mertz. “Whichever team works the hardest will win.”