The Terrace Kermodes smothered the North Shore Avalanche 2-1 in the gold-medal final of the B.C. Bantam A Female Hockey Championships last night at the Wesbild Centre in Vernon.
Terrace avenged a round-robin loss to the Avalanche – their only loss of the tournament – with some steadfast defence, a hot goalie and some clutch scoring. Terrace goalie Kelsey Roberts was named player of the game with 36 saves.
“We were really nervous because we lost to them earlier, but it was a close game so we knew if we came out hard we had a chance to beat them,” said Roberts.
Roberts made a huge stop on Avalanche captain and scoring leader Mika Embury, on a breakaway 90 seconds into the final.
“I felt really nervous at the start, but after I made those first few saves, I got into the swing of the game,” added Roberts.
North Shore controlled play for most of the first period, but the Terrace defence and Roberts kept clearing pucks to the corner and up the ice.
Terrace’s Taylor Beck opened the scoring in the first minute of the second after a face-off win, converting on a Sedin-like slap pass in the high slot, to the far side. Assists went to Caitlyn Ray and Bailey Kasum.
North Shore kept pressing and equalized on a power play with two minutes remaining in the second. Tianna Lopes walked out of the corner uncontested and went backhand, stick-side.
Just one minute later, Terrace responded with 1:38 left in the second. Myah Bowal won a battle in the corner and put the puck in front for Marissa Nichol, who one-timed a beauty off the cross bar, past Avalanche goalie Alexandra Gulstene.
“It was awesome,” said a gushing Nichol, moments after the win. “Top shelf. I’ve dreamed about doing that. It’s such a great feeling.”
The Avalanche did not let up and kept the puck pinned in the Terrace zone.
Said Nichol: “It was so nerve-wracking, knowing that you are only one goal ahead and they could score at any minute, but we worked so hard all year and we knew what to do.”
Back in Terrace, accolades poured in for the Terrace team.
“I’m very proud of their hard work and dedication,” said Terrace Minor Hockey Association (TMHA) president Terri Soucie. “TMHA salutes the girls, coaching staff and manager.”
The team is set to return to Terrace Monday, where they will be received by Terrace mayor and council at Monday’s council meeting.
With files from Kevin Mitchell, Vernon Morning Star