BERWICK, NS - There’s no question that winning a provincial championship on home ice would be wild.
The Valley Wild is hosting the 2018 Female Bantam AA provincial hockey championship at the Kings Mutual Century Centre “Apple Dome” in Berwick from March 23 to 25.
The Wild played its first game on March 23, taking on the Metro West Force Blue. The first period was scoreless and ended with the Valley Wild ahead on shots on goal with 6 compared to Metro West’s 4.
Metro West was first to score with 5:58 left in the second period. This would end up being the only goal of the game. The Valley Wild was still ahead on shots on goal at the end of the second period with 11. Metro West had 9. Although the team was unable to score, the Valley Wild remained ahead on shots on goal at the end of play with 14 compared to Metro West’s 13.
Following the game, Valley Wild captain Caroline Steeves it’s great to be hosting provincials and there are a lot of strong teams in the tournament. She said her favourite aspect is getting to experience it with her teammates. Steeves has been playing hockey for nine years and has played centre for the Wild for two years.
With regard to the 1-0 loss in the opening game, she said the Wild “just have to forget about it and focus on our next game and work harder.”
“I think that if we bring the same amount of energy and intensity to the next game, we’ll have a good outcome,” Steeves said.
She said they have to focus on getting more pucks to the net but it’s also important to have a good, memorable time. When asked what it would mean to win a provincial championship on home ice, Steeves said, “That would be wonderful, I’d be so excited, and all of our families would be here to see it happen.”
Head coach Luke McCarthy said the Wild did everything right in spite of the loss in the opening game. He attributed the loss to bad luck and said the girls know that if they continue with such strong effort, they’ll have success as the tournament progresses.
“I see them with that effort having an opportunity to play in the championship game on Sunday,” McCarthy said. “We’ve just got to get ready to battle for the next one.”
He said the Wild was able to outshoot Metro West and they had “a couple of very good chances that they could have buried but didn’t.” He said Metro West is a strong team with great coaches – and a very good goalie.
McCarthy said it’s a pleasure to coach the Valley Wild. They had a great season but the league is very close. The Wild finished second in the regular season right behind Metro West.
“We’re hoping to see them again on Sunday,” he said.
McCarthy said some of the girls will be moving on next season, so hosting the championship in their own backyard is a big deal for them and it could be their last opportunity to wear the Valley Wild colours.
The round robin tournament will see each team playing four games with the top two squaring off in the championship game on March 25 at 11 a.m. The Valley Wild was scheduled to be back on the ice at 5 p.m. on March 23 to take on Metro West Force White; at 8:30 a.m. on March 24 facing Fundy Highland and 12:30 p.m. on March 24 against Metro East Inferno.
Admission is $20 for a weekend pass or $15 per day. Opening ceremonies were held March 23 at 2:30 p.m. A skills competition and “chuck-a-puck” will be held at 2:30 p.m. on March 24. There will be a 50/50 draw following closing ceremonies at 7:30 p.m. on March 24.