The St. Clements U16 and U19 ringette teams travelled to Ottawa Feb. 23-27 for the provincial championships, and while the U16 girls had to settle for 6th in the tournament, the U19 girls returned home as the provincial champions.
The team of older girls entered the tournament ranked number-one in the province, and was able to live up to that billing with a gold medal performance.
“Because we were ranked number one, the pressure was very high,” said coach Terry Nosal. “It’s happened to us before where we’ve gone in ranked number one and not won, so the girls had a set frame of mind to overcome that pressure and actually win.”
This is the same core group of girls that captured the U16 provincial and national championships three years ago, and Nosal said that the fact the team has managed to stick together for so long – some girls have played together for six years now – really helped their cause.
The girls are so familiar with one another that it allows the team to react in situations without set plays that other teams can defend against, she said.
Nosal, who has been a coach with her husband Scott for 12 years, explained that every shift is different, and that they teach the girls how to think on the ice and really use their teammates to their advantage.
“We’ve been together for so long, they know how to use each other on the ice in spite of their ability. Everybody brings something to the team and we don’t have any superstars, and we’ve never had a captain on our team, because everybody is a captain. It’s all about the players and what they can bring.”
At the provincial championships, the team entered the semifinals undefeated, 6-0, and beat Nepean in the semis to set up a match against Waterloo in the finals.
The team trailed Waterloo 2-0 after the first period, but Sam Nosal scored four goals, Lisa Bury had two, and Paige Nosal and Robin Scott also scored to provide St. Clements with an 8-6 win and the championship.
Nosal said that the team is training hard as Team Ontario now in preparation for the national championships in Cambridge from Mar. 28 to Apr. 2. The fact the team won’t have to travel far is a bonus for them.
“Next year they’re in B.C., last year they were in Saskatoon, and the year before that they were in PEI. So it’s really nice because we don’t have to travel. It’s going to be phenomenal competition,” she said.