Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by John Tonin

FLASHING THE LEATHER – Ontario goalie Cailen Hanzlik makes a glove save during the 2019 National Aboriginal Hockey Championship bronze medal game on Sunday at the Takhini Arena.

Ontario wins female NAHC bronze

In the first of four games on Sunday at the Takhini Arena,

By John Tonin on May 14, 2019

In the first of four games on Sunday at the Takhini Arena, Team Ontario faced off against Team British Columbia in the bronze medal game of the National Aboriginal Hockey Championship.

The teams played two periods of even hockey but it was Team Ontario burying two pucks to win the game and the bronze 2-0.

It was the first time the two teams had played each other in the tournament and Ontario team captain Desiree Kamande said going in, they were expecting a tough battle.

"I didn't know how they played or anything but I was expecting them to come out strong. We knew they'd be better than any team we had played before," Kamande said when asked if B.C. gave the Ontario side everything it could handle.

In the first two periods, it was an even back-and-forth contest. Both teams goalies, Cailen Hanzlik (Ontario) and Kyla Munro (B.C.) shone making big saves to keep the game knotted at zero.

Heading into the game, Kamande said the team's strategy was simple, work hard.

"The strategy was to play hard, get lots of shots," said Kamande. "Support each, talk communicate and work our asses off."

In the third period, Ontario jumped on B.C. sustaining continued offensive zone pressure but could not solve Munro.

During the last intermission, Kamande said the locker room message was to leave it all on the line.

"In the change room, we pumped ourselves up," said Kamande. "We talked about it, we supported each other and we wanted to finish the game strong."

Ontario got on the board at the 13:45 mark of the third frame.

Cloe Skead took an outlet pass from Kamande and broke in on Munro for a partial break.

Able to get the defender on her back, Skead made a quick backhand to forehand move that made Munro hesitate. Skead made no mistake as she roofed it under the bar.

With 3:58 remaining in the period, Ontario got the insurance marker they needed to put the game out of reach.

Alex Ferguson broke in down the right side and rifled a shot over Munro's shoulder into the top of the net. The assists went to Jaydin Zack-Fabbro and Kaiya Kamande.

Desiree Kamande, from Thunder Bay, said winning the bronze was a nice way to cap off her trip to Whitehorse.

"I'm loving it, so pretty, the mountains and everything it's beautiful," said Kamande. "I'm super-proud of my team they all played really well."

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