Analysis submitted by Coach Lucas Willier
The Ponoka peewee girls competed at provincials March 18 to 20, finishing third in their pool in a tournament that featured a total of 10 teams.
The weekend started out with a strong 9-3 win against the Calgary Avalanche. Andrea Anderson scored a hat trick with three assists. Jesse stretch did her part with four goals, single markers came from Lindsay Jansen and Kelli-Rai Sieben. Sarah Willier had four assists and Brittany Lukocs had two. The girls played the game in Calgary’s end of the ice and out shot Calgary 37-12.
The second match was against the team that eventually went on to win the tournament and provincial banner — Lomond. Ponoka gave up the first goal on a mad scramble in the first. We would generate a number of good chances but the puck just couldn’t find the net. Ponoka hit a goal post late in the first and a missed break away in the second that sealed their fate. Defensively the girls held on strong and goalie Johanna Lunzmann led the way with numerous goal line saves to keep the girls in the game.
Her great play held back the offensive skill that Lomond would use to win the title. Lomond’s second and third goals came late in the third to squash any hope of a comeback.
The comeback would have to wait for the Fairview Crashers, as Ponoka used a third period rally to win 3-2. Jesse Stretch led the offensive comeback with the first-period goal and the tie marker in the first shift in the third period. Andrea Anderson scored the game winner in the third and led the defense to secure the win. Lindsay Jensen had three helpers to the goals and Abby “Miss Baby” Sim also got on the score sheet with an assist.
Ponoka’s final game came against the Olds Thunder who proved to be too much for the Ponoka girls as they would send the team home from an exciting weekend of laughs, tears, and smiles. Andrea Anderson scored a top corner goal from the point from a face off win by Brittany Lukocs early in the game.
Olds would regroup and go on a strong offensive attack for the remainder of the game winning 9-1.
Ponoka’s four points in round robin play wouldn’t hold up to Olds’ eight points and Lomond’s six points. Lloydminster and Red Deer, the top two teams in the other pool, would also prove to be no match for Olds and Lomond as they would meet in the final.
The Ponoka peewee girls set the highest goals imaginable at the start of the hockey season. Their desire, ambition, and commitment gave them the opportunities to accomplish what every team sets out to accomplish. They didn’t set out to be winners because they started as winners. They just wanted to prove that they could play. They set the standard for girls’ hockey in Ponoka for years to come.
I know, as a parent and coach, the life lessons these girls learned will influence them forever and give them the greatest friendships because of what they went through. With Ponoka Minor Hockey waiving the fees for first time, more girls are going to have the chance to experience this team bond next season. And who knows, maybe we can win it all next year.