The St. Albert Mission skate into the Western Canadian Ringette Championships next week in Winnipeg with an overall record of 31-9-6 after Tuesday’s U14AA exhibition win.
Charlotte Campbell’s hat-trick and a pair of goals by Reeve Spanakis paced the attack in the 5-3 decision against the Spruce Grove Storm at Go Auto Arena.
The Mission are seeded third out of four Alberta teams in the 10-team U14AA tween tournament as bronze medallists at the eight-team provincials last month in Calgary.
“The players are super pumped to go to westerns and take on their biggest challenge of the season,” said coach Tricia Smith. “As coaches, we are incredibly proud of what the team has achieved this season and are looking forward to taking them to the highest level of competition for their age group.”
The Mission plays LMRL Thunder (B.C. No. 1) and Calgary White (Alberta No. 1) Thursday and the Saskatoon Saints (Sask. No. 2) and Eastman Flames (host) Friday in pool play.
Boni-Vital Angels (Man. No. 1), Buffalo Plains Rush (Sask. No. 1), Central Alberta Sting (Alberta No. 2), Spruce Grove (Alberta No. 4) and Northern Lights (B.C. No. 2) form the second pool.
Visit www.wcrc2017.ca for results.
Last year the Mission finished fifth at provincials and two years ago at westerns placed seventh overall.
This is the fifth season for the tween AA program in the St. Albert Ringette Association.
The St. Albert Force is one of two northern zone reps at the Ringette Alberta U12A championship this weekend in Airdrie.
The Force qualified for the eight-team tournament after wins of 5-3 against the Sherwood Park Storm and 7-2 against Beaumont in pool A action in the north playdowns.
The Red Deer Rush was 2-0 in pool B.
Provincials started Friday for the Force against the Northwest Impact and Bowview Kiss but scores were unavailable at press time.
The last pool A game for the Force before the playoffs is against the Northwest Noise today at 8:45 a.m.
Pool B consists of Red Deer, Bowview Madness, South Calgary Shock and Airdrie Sting.
The Black Gold RUSH returns to the National Ringette League championship tournament in the team’s second year of existence.
The roster of predominantly graduates of the St. Albert Ringette Association won two and lost one in last weekend’s western conference qualification tournament in Calgary.
The NRL nationals start March 27 at Leduc and the RUSH will be joined by the Calgary RATH, Edmonton WAM!, Cambridge Turbos, Atlantic Attack, Richmond Hill Lightning, Ottawa Ice and Waterloo Wildfire.
Visit www.ringette.ca for the schedule and results.
Last year the RUSH placed eighth out of eight teams at nationals in London, Ont.
The RATH (18-3-3) qualified for nationals by finishing first in the western standings ahead of WAM! (17-7), Manitoba Intact (14-8-2), RUSH (9-13-2) and B.C. Thunder (2-22).
The RUSH, WAM! and Manitoba squared-off for the last two conference berths and the scores for the Black Gold squad were 5-4 against Manitoba and 4-3 against the Edmonton team.
The RUSH overcame two-goal deficits twice against Manitoba to knot it at two in the second period on Kirstin Denesiuk’s second goal of the game and at four in the third on Denesiuk’s hat-trick marker.
Molly Chorley’s second goal of the third was the winner.
Lauren Henderson and Lauren Macbeth, a pair of St. Albert players, picked up two assists apiece.
Manitoba outshot the RUSH 11-4 in the fourth and last period and 44-30 overall as Lauren Girard of St. Albert stood tall in net.
Kate Henderson, a defenceman from St. Albert, was the RUSH player of the game.
Girard was the team’s top player against WAM! with a whopping 50 saves, including 17 out of 18 shots faced in the fourth period as the RUSH were credited with five shots.
The RUSH led 3-1 after the first and 4-2 in the second. The third frame was scoreless and WAM! made it a one-goal game on the power play in the fourth.
Goal scorers were Lauren Henderson, Denesiuk, an Edmonton product, and Chorney (power play) and Terra Shmyr, who both hail from Riviere Qui Barre.
Chorney also added two assists as the RUSH recorded their first victory of the season against WAM!, last year’s fourth-place finishers at nationals.
The result clinched a national berth and the WAM! would later qualify by beating Manitoba 7-4.
The western second/third placement game for nationals was 4-0 for WAM! over the RUSH. A pair of WAM! goals in the second and fourth periods determined the outcome.
The RUSH were outshot 14-5 in the third and 41-30 overall.
Girard was between the pipes and Denesiuk was the RUSH player of the game.
Girard (8-10-1) ranked 10th among NRL netminders in league play with a 4.45 GAA.
Lauren Henderson led the Rush in scoring with 40 points in 24 games and Denesiuk scored a team-high 24 goals in 24 games.
The St. Albert Mission junior and belle AA teams are ratcheting it up for the Canadian Ringette Championships with several exhibitions and practices on tap before nationals start March 27 in Leduc.
The U19AA belles are seeded second out of five Alberta teams as the provincial silver medallists.
Last year the Mission placed 18th out of 20 teams at nationals in London, Ont., after winning bronze in 2015.
The 16AA juniors are seeded fourth out of eight Alberta teams for nationals after losing the provincial bronze-medal game in overtime.
Last year the Mission finished 11th out of 20 teams at nationals after placing seventh in 2015.
This is the fourth season for the junior and belle AA programs in the St. Albert Ringette Association.