The Huntsville Sting girls’ hockey teams had a busy weekend away from home when they travelled to tournaments from February 21-23. Six teams—Novice, Atom, two Peewee, and two Bantam—competed in the Oakville Hornets Survive the Hive tournament, while the two Sting Midget teams headed further south for the 39th annual Walter Gretzky tournament in Brantford.
Sting Peewee White Armstrong (pictured above)
The Huntsville Sting Peewee White Armstrong team had an outstanding weekend in Oakville. The girls finished second overall in their pool after playing a weekend of round robin games with a 2-1 record. The team then went on to beat a tough Mississauga team 4-0 in the quarter-finals.
In the semi-final game, the girls faced Ancaster. Huntsville was down 1-0 with 1:30 left when the game became strategic with Ancaster calling a timeout to calm their troops and then Huntsville coach Rick Armstrong replying with a timeout to rest and regroup as they made a plan for the final 90 seconds of play. Pulling their goalie to add an extra attacker on the ice, the Sting won the face-off which led to a Huntsville goal and brought the game into overtime.
A scoreless three-on-three overtime had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Both teams fought for the win when it came down to a seven-player shoot-out. The Sting came out on top with amazing goaltending by Jaydan Sallmen and a sweet winning goal by defense player Addie Campbell.
Heading to the final championship game, the team knew they were up against a tough South County Predator squad. They battled with all they had left but came up short in a very close game with a 1-0 loss in the end.
The Sting Peewee White are: Megan McGrath, Addie Campbell, Kirrah Corbett, Kaelyn Armstrong, Rory Jeffers, Paige Schurer, Summer Martinson, Hailey Plant, Kristen Marshall, Parker Bullen, Rosie Creasor, Alanah Jenkins, Haritha Ramachandran, Ella Clark, and Jaydan Sallmen.
Sting Peewee Black McNalley
The Sting Peewee Black team also had an amazing weekend of hockey at the Oakville tournament. Overall, the team finished first in their hockey pool and earned their way into the quarter-finals. The coaching staff agreed that the girls battled hard and definitely played with heart! Huntsville ended up losing in a shoot-out at the end of the game but both the girls and their coaches were proud of the team’s efforts.
The Huntsville Sting Atom began their weekend with a 1-1 tie. In game two, the Sting lost in a hard-fought battle as they played one of the top two teams in the tournament.
Saturday was a new day for the team and they got right back to business with a strong 3-0 win. Game four, which would advance the Atoms into Sunday’s finals, was described as a nail biter. A 1-1 tie forced a three-on-three overtime, with the Sting the first to put the puck in the net for a spot in the quarter-finals.
In the team’s fifth game of the weekend, the goal attempts went back and forth with a goaltender battle at both ends. The girls played their hearts out but were finally defeated by one goal. The Atom Sting finished with good spirits knowing they were part of the top eight out of 18 teams.
The Novice Sting competed in their first full-ice tournament of the season in Oakville—the girls only played on half-ice until January 15. This was also their first away hockey tournament as a team.
The coaches and the parents enjoyed watching the team work hard and have fun while playing and are impressed with how far these girls have come in such a short period of time.
Sting Bantam White Seely
The Sting Bantam White Seely had a fantastic weekend overall. The round robin games had the team take two wins and one tie.
They moved on to the playoff round and beat London, which led them to the quarter-finals where they played against the top-ranked team from Oakville. Another win earned them a berth in the semi-finals. It was a close game, tied 1-1 at the end of the regular play. After an overtime period followed by a shoot-out, Huntsville would skate away without the win but could hold their heads high for their effort.
Sting Bantam Black Hayes
The Sting Bantam Hayes also found some success in Oakville, with one win, one tie, and two losses.
Sting Midget White Vallentin
The Huntsville Sting Midget White Vallentin team finished third place overall in their division at the Walter Gretzky Tournament with a 2-2 record.
The Midget White bench staff said that they are incredibly proud of the strong bond that their team has formed along with the tremendous effort shown by each and every player.
The Sting Midget White Vallentin are: Emma Punkari (captain), Sally Franks (AC), Abby Huke (AC), Josie Bjorkquist (G), Coralie Balfour, Alex Creasor, Kate Franks, Olivia Graham, Grace Gates (absent), Gillian Loates, Lauren Puchala, Chloe Punkari, Avery Simpson, and Ashleigh Vallentin. Coaching staff are: coach Kerri Vallentin; assistant coaches Brian Bjorkquist, Scott Creasor, Karen Loates, and Jim Simpson; trainers Lisa Bjorkquist and Kristy Vogel; and manager Dawn Punkari.
Sting Midget Black Robinson
The Midget Sting Black Robinson team didn’t have the success they would have liked but the players were certainly winners by their attitude and team spirit throughout the entire Gretzky tournament. They battled teams from Waterloo, Brantford, Haldimand and Tecumseh.
“Each girl started and ended every game with enthusiasm and drive. Every player had their special moment including Cassie Campbell, Asha Robinson, Evangeline Perentesis, and Lily Digiacomo receiving MVP of the game,” said coach Dale Robinson. “We have an incredible bunch of girls who support and respect one another through all emotions. They have a positive, upbeat demeanor about them that makes them a pleasure to coach. I’m proud of them all.”
Some of the girls are senior players so this tournament was one of their last at the Midget level. “Although saddened that their season is coming to a close, they’ve shared comments that they’ve learned so many life skills from playing in this team environment and the fantastic friendships created will last a lifetime,” Robinson added. “They realize that although wins are rewarding they are also short-lived. It’s all about the bigger picture and they all get it. As a coach that is just as rewarding as a win.”
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