With nearly a month between game action, the LB Energy Predators came out flying at their most recent tournament in Fairveiw, Alta., on Dec. 3 and 4.
The LB Energy “Preds” under-18 regional team is a conglomerate of female hockey players based out of many associations around the Peace Region, with representation from Fort St. John, Fort Nelson, Clearview, Dawson Creek, Hudson’s Hope, Chetwynd, and Vanderhoof.
The Predators got off to a quick start in the tournament and managed to grind out three wins in round robin play. Their first challenge was against the host team and opposing midget group – The Campbell Cruisers. Prior to the tournament, the Preds had a 1-1 record against the Cruisers and were ready for some redemption after a home loss back in October. Defensemen Gillian Wuthrich scored first for the Preds with help from fellow D-man Tess Herrington. Ally Dancevic added two goals, including a short-handed marker. Bailey Wollen and Hannh Piket chipped in assists. Shots were 33-19 in favour of the Predators with a win for Chetwynd goaltender Kyana Watson.
In game two, the Predators showed no sign of slowing down as they battled through a physical game against the Peace River Sharks – a women’s team that plays tier 1 in Peace Country Female Hockey League (PCFHL). The Sharks took a total of five penalties during the game and Preds forward Taylor Bennet was able to capitalize on the power play with help from fellow Fort Nelson linemate Dancevic. The Preds were bumped and battered around but held their own and Hudson’s Hope defender Herrington potted another goal. The Predators kept their composure and pulled through with a 2-1 win. The Preds outshot the Sharks 30-15 and Watson claimed another win between the pipes.
The Predators showed up hungry for another win on the Sunday morning and took control of ice to defeat the Fairview Mad Dogs by a score of 7-0. The Line of Dancevic, Bennett, and Piket proceeded to dominate the play and tally up a total of eight points in the game. Dancevic lead the way with a hat trick, and added an assist. Bennett racked up one goal and two assists, and Piket notched a goal and an assist. Dawson Creek forward Payton Bowen also buried an unassisted goal and Fort St. John Defensemen Jaycee Bird contributed to the score board with help from Herrington. Shots were 30-6 for the Preds and Dawson Creek goalie Cheree Peters,13, secured the shutout. The LB Energy Predators met the Peace River Sharks again in the final. With the Sharks hungry for redemption, the Preds played a strong defensive game to fight off the veterans. Bird scored first with help from Fort St. John forward Taiylor Dingwell.
The Bennet/Dancevic duo connected again for the second Preds goal. The Sharks tied it up 2-2 but Herrington pulled the trigger from the point to take back the lead. The Sharks made another push at the three-minute mark to once again tie it at three. Shortly after the tying goal, the Sharks took a penalty. On the ensuing power play, Hayley Stephens roofed a short-side shot past the goalies with just 11 seconds remaining in the game. The goal clinched the game and the tournament. Watson had another strong performance in the final and stopped 18 shots in the win.
Head coach Rob Larson said of the performance: “The team played four solid games and we were clearly able to see improvement in our systems and trust in each other. They also showed a tremendous amount of character when facing adversity”.
Next up for the Predators is a Jan. 14 exhibition game against the Grande Prairie Midget AA squad, before and Feb. 11 and 12 exhibition games against Williams Lake. They will also square off against the North Peace Eagles March 23, before they head off to the provincial championship in Oceanside from March 19-23.
--Submitted Marissa Jordan