By Ryan McCracken on December 3, 2016.
The Medicine Hat Avalanche ringette team made a statement Friday at the Kinplex by opening their Ed Horvath Interprovincial Classic under-19 B tournament on home ice with a resounding 10-3 victory over the Lacombe Edge.
It was the first meeting of the year between the two teams, and Avalanche head coach Dieter Stanke says he was thrilled by his squad’s response to Lacombe’s early pressure.
“We had no idea what to expect but the girls rose to the challenge and I thought they did a very good job,” said Stanke. “They’ve been buying in to what we’ve been trying to do with our systems and I think we’ve been successful. The girls are working hard on the forecheck, backcheck, and it kind of paid off a little bit by giving us an opportunity to control the neutral zone and help us get the ring back and keep it in their end.”
Avalanche goaltender Sydney Stasienko stood tall early to keep things close with a handful of pivotal stops to help Medicine Hat hold onto a 5-3 lead at halftime on two goals from captain Courtney Stock and individuals markers out of Camryn Selwood, Lauren Hughes and Alyssa Gosse.
“I think she did really good,” Avalanche forward Karissa Simpson said of her goaltender. “There were a lot of people here to watch so you’ve got to play your best.”
The Avs barreled into the final frame, limiting Lacombe’s time in their end while rallying up an insurmountable margin. Selwood potted her second of the night before Hughes notched back-to-back markers to a complete the hat trick, then Simpson and Erica Brost both connected to put the game away.
Levi Wagner, Hayleigh Malcolm and Jenae Trider all scored for Lacombe in the first period.
The Avalanche moved on to face the Saskatoon late Friday. The three teams will meet up once more Saturday, with Medicine Hat and Lacombe hitting the ice for a rematch at the Hockey Hounds arena at 10:30 a.m. before facing the Impact in the Kinplex at 6:30 p.m.
“I’m sure Saskatoon was watching to see what we were doing so the big thing is to just go out and do what we do,” Stanke said of the upcoming games. “We’ve just got to go out there and play our game. I know Lacombe and Saskatoon had a tough game and I’m sure the next time we play Lacombe tomorrow again I’m sure it’ll be a different game.It’ll be a little tighter because both teams know each other a little bit better.”
The under-19 Ed Horvath championship game will be held Sunday at 11:15 p.m. in the Kinplex.
In other tournament action, the Medicine Hat Monsters defeated the hometown rival Chaos to open their under-10 Step 1 weekend, while the Medicine Hat Smash went 1-1 in Open B action. While the Smash opened their tournament with an 8-6 loss to the Triwood Defiance, they bounced right back Friday night with a 10-3 win over the Regina Wildcats.
Ed Horvath Interprovincial Classic group stage action continues all day Saturday at the Kinplex and Hockey Hounds arenas, while championship play slated to start Sunday morning.
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