It was a bittersweet return for Lacoka’s Midget B Rockets after winning silver at provincials in Lloydminster last weekend.
Coach Randy Burt said he wasn’t even sure if the team would make it to the semi-final match as he brought up five players from affiliate teams, two of whom were bantam level. Burt, whose voice was ragged from cheering, said they were pretty honest with the team and felt their chances were slim.
“The biggest focus was just to keep them focused,” he said.
The Rockets knew they were facing off against a tough team; they played the Cold Lake Jaguars in the round robin and narrowly defeated them. Burt said the Rockets had to beat the Jaguars in the round robin to make it to the semi-finals.
The score went back and forth in the final game against the Jaguars, said Burt, and the Rockets had to get back from a two-point deficit in the second period. With minutes left in the second, the girls tied up the game 6-6. The competition was so fierce that nobody scored in the third period, which brought the game into overtime.
Burt said both teams played well. The Rockets put on the pressure and kept the puck in the Jaguars’ half of the rink as long as they could. “They did everything they needed,” stated Burt.
“We had them on their heels,” he added.
But the Jaguars did not relent and they were able to score the winning goal.
Burt says he has no regrets over the experience and is proud of how the Rockets played. He also credits the Jaguars for positive attitudes. “They were a real class act.”
After the Jaguars took their team photo with the banner and gold medals, the team came together with the Rockets and had a joint team picture. Burt was impressed with their sportsmanship.
With girls’ provincials, teams play four games in the round robin tournament and 10 teams battle it out for bragging rights. Burt said the semi-finals and even the final game was “all gravy after that as far as I was concerned.”