Local goalie helps backstop team to league championship

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A local goalie helped her girls hockey team win a league championship and is now going to try and help her team win a provincial title.

Erica Fryer, 15, plays for the Chatham Outlaws with the Outlaws capturing the Lower Lakes Female Hockey League midget AA division championship. They recently won the “Final Four” tournament, which matched up winners of the north, south, east and west division.

Fryer said her team was not considered the favourites.

“We were the underdogs of the tournament,” she said. “No one expected us to win. Our team had a lot of faith in ourselves and ground it out.”

The Outlaws opened the “Final Four” tournament with a 2-0 win over Stoney Creek, the seventh ranked team in Ontario. While Fryer didn’t play that game, she was between the pipes against top ranked Sudbury with that game ending in a 3-3 tie.

Fryer didn’t play in the third game, a 2-1 loss to Clarington, but they had already qualified for the finals. The gold medal game was a rematch with Sudbury and the Outlaws won 2-1 in overtime with the Amherstburg goalie back between the pipes.

Fryer said the Outlaws scored just over six minutes into the game with Sudbury tying the contest at one with a goal with under five minutes left in the third period. The winning goal came five minutes into overtime.

“They outshot us 30-12. It was an intense game,” she said. “I did everything I could to keep the puck out. My team played well in front of me.”

The team celebrated the win, which was the first time Chatham had made it that far.

“It was an amazing moment for all of us,” she said.

Erica Fryer shows the Lower Lakes Female Hockey League midget championship medal.

Erica Fryer shows the Lower Lakes Female Hockey League midget championship medal.

In order to qualify for that tournament, the Outlaws had to win their division. Other teams in that division represented Saugeen Shores, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Bluewater and Guelph. The only thing they knew coming out of that and going into the “Final Four” tournament was Sudbury was the top ranked team in the province.

“Stoney Creek was very good as well,” added Fryer.

Being part of that championship team is “close to the top” of her list of accomplishment, she added. She normally has played with boys teams growing up and now gets to experience being part of all-girls teams.

“I’ve never experienced that type of tournament,” she said, comparing the “Final Four” to an OMHA title. “For me it was pretty cool to win against almost all of Ontario.”

Her father Rick said the Final Four and every tournament past that is watched by college scouts from the U.S. and Canada as well as Hockey Canada’s U16 and U18 programs.

Erica thanked her coaches both with the Outlaws and others that have helped her develop as a goalie, including Brian Spearing and Perry Wilson. While also achieving success on the ice, she is also maintaining a 96 per cent average as a Grade 10 student at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School.

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