The Lacombe U12C Edge had a rough start to their season, but finished it in the best way possible this past weekend as they brought home provincial gold.
The team went 6-1 during the provincial playoff tournament in Calgary. Their only loss came in their first round-robin game – an 11-9 defeat at the hands of Leduc – followed by 5-2, 7-3, and 13-5 victories over Airdrie, Calgary South and Sherwood Park, respectively. They also won 6-5 in overtime against Bowview, and 7-4 over Hinton in the gold medal game Sunday.
“They definitely upped their game,” said Edge Head Coach Shelley Leslie. “Even though it was the end of the season, the amount they grew within those six games was incredible. It was wonderful seeing they could meet the challenge.
“They played to what they needed to play to, they kept their act together and they did amazing.”
The team actually started the year playing at the B level. In ringette, there is a universal athlete assessment where players are ranked and tested on their skating, and then tiered based on skating times. This year’s U12C team ended up being very fast skating-wise, and so they had ranked higher than they were at game capacity.
As such, in Session One, the team had 1-7 record allowing 110 goals in eight games, and scoring just 31 times. In Session Two, they were bumped to the C level, where they recorded a 5-1-2 record for 12 points, allowing just 40 goals, while scoring 61.
Leslie says despite their start, and being a team where many of the players had not played with each other before, the team came together well, and never got down on themselves.
“They were always supportive of each other. Even with the way they took losses at the beginning of the season, they were never disrespectful,” she said. “It was incredible, especially with that age group. It’s something you very rarely see.”
They took that resiliency to provincials, and didn’t let their first loss get to them, nor adversity in the semifinals against Bowview where the game was pushed into overtime. Fortunately, the Edge were able to regroup and ultimately scored eight seconds in to advance to a just as challenging gold medal final.
The Edge were handed several penalties during the game that put them behind for a good part of the game, but once the team got back to full strength, they took back their momentum and ultimately the game.
“We (the coaches) just said: ‘You guys have worked so hard all year…Just have faith in yourself and go out and give it your all,” Leslie said of the message on the bench. “The girls didn’t get down on themselves. They took (the penalties), accepted them and moved on, then came back, caught their momentum and away they went.”
The team also went undefeated during the annual University of Alberta Ringette Scores on Cancer tournament, where they raised over $2,500 for cancer research.
Last weekend, the U12B Edge placed fifth at provincials after losing a few close battles, while the U16B Edge fell 8-5 in the semifinals against Strathmore, and then fell 8-3 to Hinton in the bronze medal game to finish fourth.