© Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
The Cumberland County Community Credit Union Ramblers gathered around the provincial championship banner after beating the Parrsboro Predators 4-1 Sunday in Parrsboro. The champions are: goaltenders Jennie Underwood (left) and Miranda March, (on one knee, from left) Courtney Gilroy, Alex Hicks, Sydney Skinner, Adele Mansour, (back, from left) coach Chuck Linney, assistant coach Lori Kinnear, Sam Legere, Casie Skidmore, Chelsea Davis, Taylor Hoeg, Reaghan Collins, assistant coach Robert Kinnear, Elyse Ferguson, and Whitney Milner.
PARRSBORO – Sweet.
That’s how coach Chuck Linney described the feeling after his Cumberland County Community Credit Union midget female Ramblers won the 2012-2013 Hockey Nova Scotia Female Midget A Championship Sunday at the Parrsboro Arena.
The ladies won the championship banner after defeating the defending champion Parrsboro Predators 4-1.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Linney.
“Any time that you win a championship with young people it’s so rewarding because it’s a culmination of them all coming together, playing as one unit, and adhering to all the disciplines to make that transition to a championship team,” he said. “They came into the game focused and they were on a mission.”
The first period was scoreless but Casie Skidmore scored the first goal of he game with 7:51 left in the second period, putting the Ramblers up 1-0. Adele Mansour and Sydney Skinner assisted on the goal.
The Ramblers went up 2-0 two minutes later when Adele Mansour scored her first of two goals, with an assist from Sam Legere.
Mansour scored her second goal early in the third period, putting Cumberland up 3-0, with assists from Skidmore and Skinner.
The Predators made it a 3-1 game with 4:18 left in the third when Jessica Johnson scored an unassisted goal.
Whitney Milner put the Ramblers up 4-1 with 52 seconds left in the game. Assisting on the goal was Courtney Gilroy and Alex Hicks.
Jennie Underwood played in goal for the Ramblers, and Tori McCrindle played in goal for the Predators.
Linney said there are two factors that made this year’s team special. First and foremost was that they were like family.
Linney was at the Gary Estabrooks benefit on Saturday night when he received an email from one of his players.
It said, “Thank you so much for everything Chuck. We want to do this for you to thank you for everything you’ve done for all us girls. I really hope we make you prouder than ever tomorrow with a banner. (It’s the) Only thing on my mind.”
“Messages like that show how close we are as a team,” said Linney.
The second major factor to their success was that everybody contributed.
“You expect your big players to be big players, but championship teams are made and broke by how the lower end of the lineup plays and my lower end of the lineup played like my top end this weekend, and that was the key difference.”
After the win, Linney said he has the utmost respect for the Predators.
“Parrsboro is deep and they’re really well coached under Matt (Smith),” said Linney. “I have a lot of respect for Matt.
“Organization-wise, they’re a good association but skill-wise they were in a shambles,” added Linney. “He constructed, out of that, a championship team last year, and then to have a chance to defend it on your home ice is hard to beat.”
He says both teams should be proud.
“In early December, before they knew they were hosting provincials, I said to a friend of mine in Halifax that the two best teams in Nova Scotia live 35 minutes apart, referring to Parrsboro and Cumberland,” said Linney. “I know it’s cocky to think that you have one of the best teams in the province, and maybe it is, and maybe my team is cocky for believing that, but it’s one thing to believe it but when you can back it up that’s different.”
Linney sent out a big thanks to many people for helping make female midget hockey a success in Cumberland County.
He thanked his sponsor, the Community Credit Union, for supporting them for more than ten years, and he singled out the work of several people, including Sam McCrindle.
“She’s been tireless in her work with minor hockey. Her daughter is the goaltender with the Parrsboro team and it’s her last year playing. Sam’s done an amazing job.”
He said the hospitality room at the Parrsboro Arena was ‘second to none,’ and said the ice was great. He was also very impressed with the referees.
“I’ve been coaching for 35 years. I spent the last 15 coaching girls, and it was the first time in 15 years of coaching girls that I’ve been involved in a game that was officiated completely by women,” he said. “The officiating was outstanding. It’s good to see the females officiating the female game. They officiated it better than men. They were great.”
Linney sent out thanks to Kathy Farrell, hockey mom and Cumberland Minor Hockey Association director and website administrator.
“She’s been outstanding, above and beyond in every way shape and form.”
And he sent out a special thanks to Paula MacPhee, who passed away last year.
“The one person I wish was around today because I know she would have been in the stands watching was Paula MacPhee,” said Linney. “She was a woman with three sons and no daughters, and she was a fierce supporter of female hockey.
“To be able to win the Bluenose and the Midget Championship in the same year makes me look up to the heavens and thank her,” he added.
The Ramblers played four games before the championship.
The results are as follows:
Game 1 – Cumberland beats Parrsboro Predators 4-2
Game 2 – Cumberland beats Yarmouth Mariners 2-0
Game 3 – Cumberland beats Cape Breton Islanders 5-1
Game 4 – After securing first place in the tournament Cumberland lost a game to the Bedford Blues.
With this year’s win, Cumberland has won two gold’s and one bronze in provincial championship play in the last four years.
“We’ve been to provincials three times and medaled all three times,” said Linney.