Lady Gens’ coaches happy with season despite losing in WECSSAA final

 

Amherst’s Renee Reid (foreground, right) battles for position against Belle River last Thursday.

Amherst’s Renee Reid (foreground, right) battles for position against Belle River last Thursday.

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens were swept in the best-of-three WECSSAA A/AA girls hockey final but the coaching staff was pleased the program hit a new milestone.

The Lady Gens lost 4-3 to Belle River in the second game of the series last Thursday afternoon at the Libro Centre – one day after dropping the opening game 7-2 at Lakeshore Arena – but the coaches were happy with how far the program has come.

“Our goal was to get to the finals and they got to the finals,” said head coach Scott Hamelin.

Belle River’s Krystin Lawrence and General Amherst’s Savannah Bouzide traded hat tricks but Katherine Carter’s goal proved to be difference in the game. Lawrence opened the scoring for the Nobles in Game 2 just 2:37 into the game but Bouzide tied it less than five minutes later. Lawrence scored before the period was over and added her third goal of the game on a five-on-three powerplay 5:23 into the second period but Bouzide scored at the 10:42 mark of the second period and again 3:43 into the third period to tie the game.

However, Carter’s goal with 5:02 left on the clock gave the Nobles the title and eliminated the Lady Gens.

“Belle River is a very good, skilled team,” said Hamelin.

The Nobles also play a physical game, he added, and that was something the Lady Gens hadn’t seen all season. He said it took them a game to get up to speed and adjust to Belle River’s physical play.

This season brought respectability and accountability to the girls hockey program, he added, and praised outgoing seniors Sam Morand, Olivia Gyori, Maria Goggin and Jenna Meloche for their dedication and leadership to the program.

Hamelin said they should have a strong team moving forward and there are some good young players coming up that should help the returning players keep the program strong.

With his first year of coaching at General Amherst complete, Hamelin added he was “pleased to share the ice with girls like this.” He said the players worked hard and were very coachable.

“I couldn’t ask for anything more,” he said.

Last Thursday’s game could have been the last for assistant coach Dan Pettypiece, who was the head coach for the first six years of the program before stepping back into an assistant’s role this season. Pettypiece said he may come back if he is needed next season but was proud of how far the program has come to this point.

“In my heart, they will always be champions,” said Pettypiece. “You don’t need a medal to be a champion.”

Pettypiece added they “ran out of late game heroics” but was proud of the team and how far the girls hockey program has come. He added that Corey Meloche, the girl who helped found the program that was killed in a snowmobile crash in 2010, would be happy to see how the team did this year.

“I told them Corey was up in Heaven smiling down on this team and she was very proud of them,” said Pettypiece.

Pettypiece said if Hamelin returns as coach next year and needs his help, he will be there for him but indicated his desire to take a step back.

“It’s time for me to step back a little bit more and spend more time with my family,” he said.

While the season is over, there will be one more exhibition game this year. Pettypiece said the Lady Gens are scheduled to meet the Villanova Wildcats April 7 at 7 p.m. in the Corey Meloche Memorial Game.

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