Erica Fryer

Local goalie wins silver at Canadian U18 girls hockey championship

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Erica Fryer was part of one of the two Ontario teams at the recent Canadian U18 girls hockey championship and brought home some hardware.

Fryer played for Team Ontario (Blue) at the tournament in Quebec City Nov. 1-5 and the young goalie helped backstop her team to a silver medal. Fryer, a Grade 12 student at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School, played three games for her team and finished 2-1 with a 1.35 goals against average, a .952 save percentage and one shutout.

“It was definitely a great experience,” said Fryer. “It was definitely once in a lifetime. It was great to compete for Ontario and compete against all of the other provinces in Canada.”

Amherstburg resident Erica Fryer shows some of the awards she won as part of the Team Ontario (Blue) team at the Canadian U18 girls hockey championship in Quebec City Nov. 1-5.

Fryer played in three games, the first being a 4-0 shutout victory against Alberta.

“I ended up getting player of the game,” she said, an honour for which she received a trophy and a watch.

Her second game, and her team’s third game, saw Fryer and Team Ontario (Blue) defeat Team Ontario (Red) 3-1. Those two teams would meet again in the finals, Fryer’s next game, but the results would be the exact opposite of their first meeting as Red beat Blue 3-1.

“I think I played very well. I held my ground and did the best I could,” she said.

Fryer praised her teammates for their efforts at the tournament.

“My team clicked together. We got to know each other and gelled really well,” said Fryer. “Our team competed very well. It was the first time at nationals for all of us. None of us were there before but we competed well as a team.”

Erica Fryer stand with some of her fans. (Submitted photo)

Team Ontario (Blue) went undefeated until the finals, she pointed out.

“Quebec City is beautiful,” she added. “I’ll have memories for the rest of my life.”

One of her memories will be being cheered by elementary school students who attended the tournament. She said the students made posters with her jersey and name drawn on it and cheered her on.

“It was so cool to see that,” she said.

Fryer did not make the U18 national team but she plans on working hard to eventually make the Canadian women’s U22 team in a few years.

“That’s my next goal,” she said.

In the meantime, Fryer will continue playing for the London Jr. Devilettes and try to bring them to the Provincial Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) finals. She is also headed to the University of Toronto next year on a scholarship.

Local goalie signs with U of T, prepares for action with Team Ontario

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A local goalie now knows where she is going to university with her new school happy to have her.

Erica Fryer, currently a Grade 12 student at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School, has signed with the University of Toronto and will be continuing her education there after her high school graduation. She signed with U of T Sept. 30.

Erica Fryer (left) signed with the University of Toronto recently. With her is Varsity Blues head coach Vicky Sunohara.

“I’m very honoured,” said Fryer. “It’s been a dream of mine to play university hockey. I’m extremely honoured to be a Varsity Blue in 2018. It’s a great school both academically and athletically.”

Fryer said she was impressed by the coaching staff at U of T and despite talking to other Canadian and American schools, she decided to head to the University of Toronto.

“They had the best offer for me,” she stated, noting it is a $4,500 athletic scholarship with more academic scholarships possible depending on her grades.

While there, Fryer plans on studying kinesiology with an eye on getting into the prosthetics field. She said a neighbour has a son born without a leg and watching him grow helped spark her interest, as did an aunt who lost her leg from cancer.

Erica Fryer does a pushup in preparation of her participation with Team Ontario and the Canadian U18 championships.

Fryer’s coach at the University of Toronto will be Vicky Sunohara, a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Sunohara said Fryer has been on the U of T’s radar for about a year and the scout who first saw Fryer liked her. The Amherstburg goalie also came highly recommended from her goalie coach Perry Wilson.

“It was all positive,” said Sunohara. “I’m looking for people who love the game. She’s always smiling. I really like that.”

Sunohara added that her new recruit is also very passionate about the game and getting better.

“Her drive is incredible,” said Sunohara. “She’s an all-around good kid, a hard working kids and is very motivated. I love her energy and am glad she is part of the program.”

Fryer will be able to earn a starting spot, Sunohara added, noting that while “she is ready for the challenge,” she doesn’t like to promise anyone starting positions. Sunohara added that Fryer’s family is “fun to be around” and “very positive” and has high hopes for Fryer going forward.

“I think she’s going to be a top goalie in our league,” said Sunohara. “She’s not someone who is just going to be happy to be there. There is no doubt the potential is there. I’m just looking forward to getting to know her better.”

Erica Fryer performs standing long jump in preparation of her participation with Team Ontario and the Canadian U18 championships.

In the meantime, Fryer will also continue playing for the London Jr. Devilettes and has also been chosen for Team Ontario at the Canadian U18 championships in Quebec Nov. 1-5. She is one of four goalies from Ontario to go and will be one of two goalies on Team Blue.

Team Red is the other Ontario team.

Fryer said she was invited to Team Ontario tryouts and was one of eight originally at the tryouts before cuts were made. She hopes to continue playing on the international stage as well.

“My goal is to play on the Canadian Olympic team,” said Fryer.

Fryer thanked her parents and family, friends and her coaches, including Wilson, “in getting me to where I am today.”

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.

Wildcats settle for scoreless tie with Belle River

 

Villanova's Kaycyn Hernandez (centre) splits between two Belle River defenders during third period action Jan. 6 at the Libro Centre. The two teams played to a 0-0 tie.

Villanova’s Kaycyn Hernandez (centre) splits between two Belle River defenders during third period action Jan. 6 at the Libro Centre. The two teams played to a 0-0 tie.

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The good news for the St. Thomas of Villanova girls hockey team coming out of last Wednesday’s game is that they are still undefeated.

The bad news is they didn’t win either.

The Wildcats and Belle River Nobles battled to a scoreless tie at the Libro Centre with Erica Fryer picking up the shutout for the Wildcats and Sarah Hosted doing the same for Belle River. Villanova coach John Purdie didn’t believe it was one of the team’s better effort, believing the team didn’t have the execution or the legs coming out of the holiday.

Purdie said they expected a bit of a lag coming out of the Christmas holidays but they still expected to get a victory.

“The expectation going into the game was to come out with the win,” he said. “A tie is good but it’s not our standard.”

Purdie said Belle River played well and he credited Fryer for helping the Wildcats to earn a point.

Avery Mertz of Villanova's girls hockey team tries to beat Belle River goalie Sarah Hosted during Jan. 6 action at the Libro Centre. The two teams played to a scoreless tie.

Avery Mertz of Villanova’s girls hockey team tries to beat Belle River goalie Sarah Hosted during Jan. 6 action at the Libro Centre. The two teams played to a scoreless tie.

“She was as sharp as she’s ever been,” said Purdie.

The Wildcats are now 5-0-1 on the season, good for 11 points in WECSSAA Tier 1 play. They are in first place, three points up on second place St. Anne. General Amherst plays in the same tier, with the Lady Gens holding a 1-1-1 record.

For the Wildcats, they aim to repeat at WECSSAA AAA/AAAA champions and get to OFSAA. Purdie believed the second half of the season will be “interesting” and noted they have two games in two weeks with St. Anne.

“The challenge I gave the girls is to dominate the next two weeks,” he said.

The next game for the Wildcats is at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore against St. Anne Jan. 14. They will then play at Lanspeary Park in Windsor against Holy Names Jan. 19 before returning to the Libro Centre for their next meeting with St. Anne.

Erica Fryer returns from Italy with gold medal

 

Amherstburg resident Erica Fryer was part of the West Coast Selects girls hockey team that won gold recently in Bolzano, Italy.

Amherstburg resident Erica Fryer was part of the West Coast Selects girls hockey team that won gold recently in Bolzano, Italy.

By Ron Giofu

 

A local 14-year-old girl helped her West Coast Selects (WCS) hockey team come home from Italy with a gold medal.

Erica Fryer was part of the WCS team that travelled to Bolzano, Italy in mid-August for the World Selects Invitational tournament. Fryer’s team won the gold medal, toppling the East Coast Selects 2-1 in what Fryer called “a very tight” championship game.

“It was a lot of fun,” Fryer said of the experience. “We got to play some teams from around the world. It was a good time with the girls. We got along well and played well together.”

Fryer got some playing time in each game, with her playing one half of the game and teammate Gwyneth Philips playing the other half between the pipes. She knew many of her teammates from playing together at other tournaments in Sweden, Chicago and Toronto.

While the West Coast Selects only allowed four goals in eight games, many of the games weren’t easy. They lost 2-1 to Slovakia in round-robin play – their only loss of the tournament – but WCS managed to win the rest.

“A couple of teams gave us a run for our money but we fought back,” she said.

The WCS were coached by Manon Rheaume, a former goaltender herself. Rheaume is the only woman ever to play for an NHL team, having been in preseason games with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992 and 1993.

“It was pretty cool to be coached by one of the top female goalies of her time,” said Fryer.

The West Coast Selects celebrate their tournament win in Italy. (Submitted photo)

The West Coast Selects celebrate their tournament win in Italy. (Submitted photo)

Fryer had played against Rheaume-coached teams in the past and beat them three times. This time, she helped a Rheaume-led team win. In addition to playing for Rheaume, Fryer said she picked up a few pointers from her as well.

“She told me to keep my spirits up, never get down on yourself and never give up in any game,” said Fryer.

Fryer, a St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School student, was one of three Canadian players on WCS. American players came from such places as Ohio, Chicago and Pittsburgh. They managed to win the gold medal despite only having two lines and five defenseman for the tournament.

Winning gold was “pretty close to the top” of her hockey experiences this far, she said, though she hopes to continue the success with the Chatham Outlaws midget AA team this year. Upon returning from Italy Aug. 19, she was on the ice the next night practicing with the Outlaws.

After Fryer and her team took care of business on the ice in Italy, the family stayed an extra ten days as her mother’s family is from that area. Many of her family members got to see her play during the tournament.

“I don’t think they ever saw me play, so it was cool,” she said.

Fryer thanked her sponsors and her coaches, including goalie coach Perry Wilson, for helping her get to where she is today. She said she is appreciative of all the help.