Coach Rebecca Russell said the play of her Okanagan Hockey Academy female midget team during the Junior Women’s Hockey League weekend was just ok.
From the bench, watched as her team won two of fives games at the OHA Training Centre.
The perfect 4-0 record was snapped when they opened the weekend with a 4-4 tie against the Pacific Steelers from Vancouver on Oct. 17. Then on Oct. 18 against Notre Dame from Wilcox, Sask., they lost 6-4. The OHA picked up wins against Alberta’s Warner Hockey School, 5-3, and Manitoba’s Balmoral Hall, 3-2, on Oct. 19. They were edged out 2-1 by Alberta’s Edge School on Oct. 20.
“We’ve played a lot of hockey in a short period of time,” said Russell. “I felt this weekend there was a little bit of a lull in the consistency of our effort.”
Russell also noticed the home sickness experienced by the players, which happens at this time. They realize they are not going home. There was also the feeling of excitement of playing in their home rink and those factors contributed to the inconsistency. Russell is pleased they are still atop the Major Junior North division with 13 points, tied with Edge School, who have one game in hand.
Russell added she felt her team should have controlled games because of the talent and depth they have. However, she did feel they gave themselves a chance to win. One thing she liked is how her veteran players stepped up, especially in the dressing room.
“I felt they got the team together and talked about some things,” she said. “They understood and brought it to my attention.”
Now the OHA has eight players heading off for the 2013 Under-18 National Women’s Championship in Calgary Nov. 6 to 10.
Representing B.C. will be Alyssa Erickson, Hannah Miller, Brielle Bellerive, Celine Tardif, Micah Hart, Morgan Skinner. Representing Team Saskatchewan are Nicole Goebel and Emma Yanko. Russell is coaching Team B.C. for the U-18 nationals and was recently named by Hockey B.C. as the head coach for the 2015 Canada Winter Games. Russell said it’s always an honour to have that opportunity.
“I think the first speech I did with Team B.C. in September I said I grew up in NewFoundland, I grew up a Newfie,” she said. “The first time I see you guys do warm up I have a feeling in my gut, I’m like wow, I’m a B.C. girl. Definitely proud to be part of it. I look forward to it. The athletes I get to work with, it’s outstanding.”
The OHA’s next league game at home is against the Steelers on Jan. 11 and 12.