Kitchener Lady Rangers Novice 'B' 2010-2011, a name that will now be forever etched in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
As the Kitchener team descended on a Belleville Hotel, you could feel the excitement building, these girls came to play hockey (and take an occasional dip in the pool). Players, Coaches, Trainers, Staff and a collection of 'Hangers on' crowded the halls, lobby, meeting rooms, and all too often Hotel Suites just buzzing with anticipation.
The first game for the Rangers took place in Trenton, matching Kitchener against the surging Ice Kats from Peterborough, and although the girls had had plenty of time to prepare for the 1 pm start they were surprised with the speed skating players on the opposition. After holding a 1-0 lead for much of the game, they could not keep it allowing a heart breaking goal with 13 seconds left to play.
With a very short time to rest in the Hotel, the girls were shuttled off to Brighton for an night game against the Belleville Bearcats and Opening Ceremonies. After an encouraging start, the Lady Rangers could not keep pace with the aggressive Bearcats and fell to Belleville 5-0. But the girls remained both in good spirits and on the ice to take part in the Official Opening Ceremonies which included the Cold Creek Color Guard, and Mayor of Brighton, as well as teams from Belleville, Cold Creek, and Orangeville.
Saturday Morning came quickly and the girls were back to Brighton for an early game against the Napean Wildcats. Eden was once again outstanding being consistently challenged by a very fast and hard shooting team, and after her pads rested for the final buzzer the girls had fought their way to a 1-1 draw.
So after the initial Round Robin portion of the tournament the girls found themselves at the mercy of Aurora who needed just one win to advance and knock Kitchener out early. By 2 pm the Lady Rangers had their Prayers answered and rooms re booked, they were off to the semi finals to take on first place Whitby.
The Whitby game had everyone's blood pumping, the fans were loud the girls were loud and the lowered roof of a fantastic arena in Frankford was ready to blow off. The Rangers took an early 2-0 lead and looked to be cruising, but the Wolves came back in the third and tied the game. Back and forth they went until Issy was able to push the puck over the goal line with under 2 minutes to play. Kitchener was going to the Championship Game, and another contest against the Wildcats from Napean.
This Championship game picked up where the previous tie had left off, Napean smothered the Kitchener girls and stayed hard at the net, but Eden was there to answer. Napean took a 1-0 lead. After that one goal, the Kitchener Net Minder took over turning away everything that came her way, this seemed to wear down the Napean skaters as they appeared to get more frustrated with the brick wall they were shooting at. A sudden break from Ashley down a wing and a long shot found the back of the net knotting things up at one. And then came a second goal for Kitchener and with lots of time left in the third. That is when all five players from all three lines stepped up and stayed with the puck, defending, pushing and just plain getting in the way. Every defensive zone clearing was cheered by the noisy Ranger Fans yet there was no giving up for Napean who, with an empty net, managed to fight to the bitter end and a final shot just sliding by the outside post as time expired.
The Kitchener Lady Rangers Novice 'B' 2010-2011 Silver Stick Champions.
Special Thanks to Coaches Scott, Mark and Jeff, Trainers Lisa and Karen, Manager Reagan, Parents, Grandparents, Friends and Family for hard work and effort making sure everything for the girls was ready and organized for the weekend.
Further thanks to Organizers and Staff of the Brighton Silver Stick Tournament for their hard work and hospitality.
Special Mention to Staff of Holiday Inn Express and Suites Belleville for their patients and understanding.
Two more words Burger King.
Congratulations to the 16 girls of the Kitchener Lady Rangers.