The Northern Huskies finished third out of three teams at the Provincial AAA Female Midget Tournament. The Huskies, which were made up of players from Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Lab West, didn't manage to win any of their games, but nearly won their semi final match, which they lost to the Tri Pen Ice 6-5.
The tournament, which ran Jan. 11-13, was held at the EJ Broomfield Memorial Arena in Happy Valley Goose Bay. The Huskies weren't able to take advantage of home ice early in the tournament, and lost all four of their round robin games, most by lopsided scores.
Not many people gave the third place Northern Huskies a chance when they met the second place Tri Pen Ice in the semi finals. The Ice already beat the Huskies twice in round robin by scores of 3-0 and 8-2.
But the Huskies showed a lot of heart and determination in the semi finals, and jumped out to a 1-0 lead 20 seconds into the game.
The lead didn't last, however, as Tri Pen scored three straight in the first period to take a 3-1 lead.
It seemed as though Tri Pen might run away with the game. After taking the lead, much of the first period was played in the Huskies' zone.
Tri Pen put on a lot of offensive pressure, but stellar goaltending by Alisha Stang kept the Huskies in the game. The Huskies capitalized on Stang's timely goaltending and tied the game late in the third period, with goals from Callie Dwyer and Sarah Roberts.
Early in the second period, Dwyer would give the Huskies the lead on her third goal of the game. But the celebration wouldn't last long. Just a few minutes later, Tri Pen would tie the game on a controversial goal - the result of a scramble in front of the net.
"That was a little nerve-racking...it was a bad call and we didn't like it," says Huskies captain Sarah Roberts. "But our coach told us don't retaliate, or we'd only get penalties."
The goal took all the momentum away from the Huskies. Tri Pen would score two more in second period to take a 6-4 lead.
The Huskies showed a lot of grit in the third period. They produced some good chances, but didn't get a goal until Roberts scored on the power play with five minutes remaining. Moments later, Roberts would nearly tie the game when she rang a wrist shot of the post.
Tri Pen hung on to their one goal lead, and earned a berth in the finals against the Central Icepak. They would play a hard fought game for the championship, but Central ended up winning 3-0.
Despite the loss, the Huskies put on a great offensive show for the home crowd in the semi finals. Line mates Sarah Roberts (from Goose Bay) and Callie Dwyer (From Labrador City) were particularly impressive. Roberts tallied two goals and three assists in the game, while Dwyer scored a hat trick. Despite being from different towns, the two friends showed great chemistry together.
"We played a lot together over the years," says Roberts. "Where we've always played on a line together for AAA, we always know where each other is (on the ice)."
Head Coach Gary Dove said it was hard for the team to play together in their earlier games because the distance between Labrador City and Goose Bay made practices impossible before the tournament. But he was proud of the way his team played, and doesn't dwell on the goal that tied the game at four.
"It was a judgment call for the referee and he thought the goal was good. There's nothing we can do...whether it was legal or illegal the referee pointed to the net," says Dove. " We battled well...we're really pleased with our effort, it's a good way to end the tournament."