The Yukon Northstars had to rush off the ice after defeating Langley Girls Ice Hockey Bantam C2 2-1 in the gold medal game on Dec. 30 in Langley B.C. - they had a plane to catch home.
The Northstars spent their holiday break between Christmas and New Year competing in the Angels on Ice Langley BC Tournament.
Before making the final, the girls only suffered one defeat, against Langley 4-2. Coach Jessica Pumphrey said it was the wakeup call the team needed.
“The first loss they really handily defeated us,” said Pumphrey.
When the two teams faced off again in the final Pumphrey said the team showed up to play.
“They were a little nervous but they let the adrenaline take over the nerves,” said Pumphrey. “Langley was a fast team and we had to push to get them on their heels. They didn’t take a period to get their legs under them.”
Pumphrey said the game became rough but it was nice for the girls to face adversity.
“It was getting choppy and rough,” said Pumphrey. “Our captain got punched in the head but they stayed strong. It’s nice to see them have some adversity. They didn’t always have to push.”
Although it was a bantam tournament, the median age of the Northstars was 13. Pumphrey said throughout the tournament, even though the girls were smaller than most, they didn’t allow themselves to get pushed around and claimed their space on the ice.
The score was notched 1-1 at the end of regulation. Overtime solved nothing and the teams went to a shootout. The Northstars won the game after their last shooter, of five, scored.
“It was intense,” said Pumphrey. “Everyone on the bench wanted to win.”
Throughout the final, Pumphrey said the girls responded well to adjustments and to taking on their role.
“Everyone took their roles and came out like champs,” said Pumphrey.
In the waning minutes of the game, Pumphrey said she shortened the bench to press for the win.
“The girls understood it wasn’t their level of compete,” said Pumphrey. “They were cheering and didn’t take it personally. I was blown away by their ability to put the team first. It really impressed me as a coach.
“In the future, they will be fantastic leaders.”
The team had to rush off the ice after their win because they had a plane to catch.
“The whole game we were looking at the clock,” said Pumphrey.
Although they didn’t get to celebrate at the rink, an announcement was made on their flight congratulating them on their gold medal win.
Pumphrey said going to tournaments is a good opportunity for the girls to play as girls.
“It’s an opportunity for them to play as a girls team,” said Pumphrey. “It’s nice to give them a place to play as girls and build their own community of female players.”
The Northstars opened their tournament with a 5-0 victory over Surrey Female Ha Bantam C1. They followed their opening win by downing South Delta Female Bantam C1 4-1.
Then came their loss to Langley 4-2, but they recovered well and beat South Delta a second time 7-2, punching their ticket to the final.
Up next for the players, Pumphrey said they have some games and practices and they will look to do another tournament later in the year.