Southern Belles: Our Damsels In Detroit, News, Atom, 2013-2014, AA (Kitchener Minor Hockey)

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Southern Belles: Our Damsels In Detroit
Submitted By Jarid Peterson on Friday, November 8, 2013
        With the simple question of “Anything to declare” leaving the lips of the Canadian Border Patrol, the rear window slowly slid down to reveal the emphatic smile of a Lady Ranger with a Championship Plaque in one hand and a Gold Medal in the other.

“Yes, we are the Champions.” I am quite certain that more than one Border Guard was treated to the very same scenario about sixteen more times that November evening. The Kitchener Lady Rangers Atom AA team was indeed the 2013 Bauer World Invite Detroit U10 Champions.

The Belles in Blue had to run the Gauntlet during the tournament, playing each and every team in the division, which started with a Friday Midday 5-1 victory over the Home State Livonia Lady Knights. From there the Girls enjoyed a team meal together before ascending on the Dearborn Ice Skating Center once again this time to take on the North York Storm, and again squeezing out a 4-2 win.

Saturday afternoon would see the Ladies take on a very talented team from Detroit, Little Caesars, who would prove to be a worthy opponent with both teams coming into the game undefeated. When the dust finally settled and both teams had brushed themselves off, the game had ended in a 1-1 tie. The Semi Final match ups would need to be decided with math.    

Sunday morning had the Kitchener team up against local rival London Devilettes, and although the girls looked nervous, they were able to come away with a 2-0 win and a berth in the Final Championship game. What a game that would turn out to be, as the other Semi Final saw Little Caesars fall to their cross border rival the Windsor Wildcats by a 2-0 score as well.

Both teams were forced to walk by and sign in next to the very hardware they were competing for as they entered the Rink for the final time that weekend. As the game began, and in front of a surprisingly loud and proud arena of supporters, the Rangers quickly fell back 1-0 until Allison (eventual tournament MVP) tied the game with a terrific top corner goal. After Ayrial put the girls up by a goal, the first period ended with a 2-2 draw, and then so did the second. There was no shortage of chances for our young ladies but the Windsor Keeper (also tournament MVP) continued to systematically turn them away.

They teams went back and forth, even exchanging chances on the Power Play, until with only 1:07 remaining on the clock the Rangers put one behind the solid Goalie. Nicole had followed and Ayrial shot into the blue paint and was able to bang home the go ahead goal. What followed next was a painfully slow (for fans) last minute of play, including an extra attacker for Windsor with their net empty. But as Windsor pushed Aria was able to gain control of the puck and maintain it until time expired. At least we believe it was Aria, so hard to tell as almost every eye in the stands was turned to the clock counting down.

As Coach Dave lovingly embraced each member of his coaching staff, the Girls from Kitchener squeal aloud and in unison as they had just become Champions. But with poise and dignity each and every Ranger accepted their medals and applauded loudly for their adversaries, a respect and admiration for each and every player from Windsor for a hard fought and exciting final Game.

This team really came together when challenged the most, on and off the ice that weekend. Showing wisdom well beyond their young years, the Girls were one of the best behaved and prepared teams I have had the fortune to travel with. They were courteous not only to each other but to the Community of Dearborn Michigan who in turn showed us not only a wonderful time, but that Girls Hockey is on the rise South of the Border. Winning the Championship was a hard fought battle, but with a little encouragement from the often appearing Superman, the Girls came out the victors and traveled back to their home country with not only the medals to show, but a lifetime of memories to share.

Congratulations Girls, you have made your Friends, Families, Community, City and Country very proud and each of you has a very bright Hockey Future ahead of you.  A big thank you to Tournament Organizers and Staff, the city of Dearborn, Livonia, North York, Little Caesars, London and Windsor’s players and families, as well last but not least to the older Mark sibling who was a great assistance in pointing out the finer details of acceptable Reffing.
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