The Sharks won all four games they played to take home the gold medal. In the final, Julie Curtis scored and Amber Lapierre posted a shutout in goal, as the Sharks beat Humber 1-0.
“We had high expectations for this team, however going into this tournament we were missing three key players because of a scheduling conflict,” said Sharks coach Mike Pettinella. “We went in there with the idea of playing a very good defensive game.”
“We called up three players and just went with what we had and hoped for the best and the girls really, really responded.”
It’s the first gold medal for the Sharks women’s hockey team this year, after coming home empty handed from a tournament at Humber on Nov. 25, 2011 The Sharks women’s team won two silver medals and a consolation championship from tournaments in the 2010-2011 season.
To get to the final, the Sharks beat Wilfrid Laurier 2-0 in the tournament’s semifinal. The goal scorers were Jenay Morin and Katereena Emmell. Again, Lapierre was perfect in goal.
The Sharks also beat Conestoga 3-1, with two goals scored by Morin and one by Callie McLeod. Their opening game was a 5-0 win over Seneca, with Taylor Johnston scoring twice and McLeod, Curtis and Emily Kinstler scoring once each. Lapierre earned the shutout.
Pettinella touted the play of Lapierre as she kept the Sharks in all of the games.
It wasn’t an easy tournament to win. The Sharks started the tournament with a different lineup than the usual one and more adjustments had to be made after one player was lost due to injury midway through.
“We went in there with a different state of mind,” Pettinella added. “I think the girls really responded to the change of lineup. We are really looking forward to the next tournaments, playing with a full lineup.”
Pettinella’s co-coach Sean Boulerice was equally impressed with his team.
“The girls did exactly what was asked of them,” he said. “We told them to focus on three things; a good first pass out of our own zone; lots of pucks on the net and keep a man high to avoid an odd-man rush. They played this perfectly.”
“Our bench was depleted so we kept the shifts short and kept rolling six forwards. We did a fantastic job of getting to the puck first and also played a very disciplined brand of hockey.”
Pettinella said the tournament victory was a nice accomplishment, considering the caliber of college women’s hockey has improved greatly in recent years. Teams across the province have improved and the Sharks have had to keep pace.
“We don’t go to tournaments expecting to win,” Pettinella said. “We go trying to be as prepared as we can be. They really earned everything they got from this tournament. We’re extremely proud of this group.”
Boulerice added, “it was a pleasure coaching these girls and I was thrilled to see them get the results they deserved.”
The Sharks women’s team’s next tournament is Friday, Feb. 10, when they travel to Kitchener to compete in the Conestoga Invitational.