After an abrupt and disappointing end to last season, the Elmira District Secondary School girls’ hockey team has its sights set high.
Last year, the team was undefeated in their regular season, and lost out to Waterloo Collegiate Institute, the eighth-place team, in the quarterfinals, ending what had been a great year.
Just three games into this year’s regular season, they remain undefeated. Head coach Steve Karn says they don’t want to get cocky, but are definitely aiming for the top spot in the league.
“Our girls’ hockey team is usually the best team in the school year in, year out. It is the same this year,” he said, mentioning last year’s loss. “That was something that was very unfortunate. We were number one and we lost to number eight, but you know, a hot goalie and I don’t know. That game, I believe we outshot them by about 40 shots and we just couldn’t put the puck in the net, we had a couple of goals disallowed, and not everything went our way that game.”
The girls are drawing on last year’s loss to strive for more this year.
“I think there are ten girls that are in Grade 12 and Grade 13, so they are pretty hungry to redeem themselves. I think we lost three girls, and we have three new girls on the team, but the core group is all still there,” he said. “They are very optimistic, they have been working hard and they are taking nothing for granted because of what happened last year. There is definitely a buzz in the dressing room.”
The 2016-2017 season has started on a high note for the lady Lancers with a season-opening win against Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate on Dec. 5. The final score was 11-0. They followed that game with a 10-0 win against Jacob Hespeler Secondary School on Dec. 7. They let a couple of goals in at their next game on Dec. 12 against Preston High School, ending in a final score of 7-2.
Karn says the team is off to a great start, but there are some teams they have yet to play that traditionally put together strong girls hockey teams.
“They are Huron Heights and Bluevale. They are usually fairly strong. Last year, Huron Heights, we beat them 6-2, but they won the championship last year,” he said. “We would have been there had it not been for that one hiccup. We never had the chance to do anything there. They will be strong, they have a good portion of their team back from the sounds of it and we will at least be getting some competition there.”
He says that previous years, the team has had some superstar players, but this year, everyone is good on the ice, and have been working together effectively.
“In the past, we have had some girls that had Division 1 scholarships and things like that, but these girls are all good. They have three deep lines that just wear teams down,” said Karn. “Every team has one line, but we have three. It is hard for teams to be able to match that. We are blessed that way.”
The team is three games into a 10-game season. Their next game was on Dec. 14 against Southwood, followed by a matchup with the team that knocked them out of the standings last year, WCI, on Dec. 21 at the Dan Snyder arena.