Pembina U14 Rock nets provincial berth
Team rebounds from winless campaign to rank amongst the top teams in Alberta
Tuesday, Mar 14, 2017 06:00 am
The Rock have rebounded.
After losing every game they played last year, the Pembina Rock U14B-1 ringette team is among 12 teams heading to the provincial finals in Calgary March 17-19.
The squad clinched the spot by defeating 13 other teams during provincial playdowns over the course of two weekends.
“That last game we were down 3-0 with 12 minutes left in the game,” said head coach Norm Brill. “We called a time-out, brought them in, got them calmed down and in 12 minutes they ended up scoring four goals and we won the game with 1:27 left.”
The provincial berth comes after a breakout season, with the Rock posting a 9-7-0 record in the Black Gold Ringette League.
“They really surprised us all year long, they just got better and better as the season progressed,” he said. “The girls matured a little, they understood a bit more. We also had a coach who came up from St. Albert who helped us out a lot.”
The rise to contender is a quick one for Pembina Ringette as the association itself only came into existence five years ago.
“It is very exciting, we’re really proud of the girls,” said team manager Danielle Sawchuk.
“We’ve only had a U14 team for three seasons. There’s a couple new players this year, but most of them have been playing together for the last three years.”
Brill noted that the parents and families are a huge factor in the Rock’s success this year.
“If we didn’t have a group of dedicated parents coming to our practices and our games, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” he said. “They do their time in the box, they offer rides to kids when others can’t make it, every body steps up to make sure they can make it.”
He added while the Rock had the weekend away from playing games, he was working them hard keeping their skills up.
“We’re practicing, just to make sure we stay on our game,” said Brill. “Our defence has come a long ways. When we played one of the St. Albert teams two weekends ago, we ended up beating them by one goal in the last three minutes they pulled their goalie.
“They just couldn’t get by our defense. They held strong and kept pushing them out.”
While it’s been a rocky road for the Pembina squad, Brill noted that the team was preparing for even fiercer competition.
“It’s going to be a lot faster,” he said. “But when you know you’re facing a sharper game, I believe our girls are going to step up as well. One thing that was brought forward to the girls was to go from last year not winning a game, to this year to being one of the Top 12 U14 teams in Alberta, that’s quite a big jump for the girls.
“They’re ready for the show.”
The Rock will hit the ice at 2 p.m. March 17 against the Northwest Ambush in Calgary.