SPRINGHILL – The Nova Ice Midget Ladies hockey team are the 2013-14 Hockey Nova Scotia Female Midget A provincial champions.
“We played the best game we played all weekend,” said Maddie Currie, Nova Ice captain, after Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Yarmouth Mariners. “We stepped it up and did what we had to do to win.”
Currie, who is from Spencer's Island, said she was proud of the entire team, which also features players from Amherst, Parrsboro, Springhill and Tatamagouche.
“Everyone played their role to perfection, whether it was playing their position or keeping everybody's head up and being positive.”
The girls won the championship game Sunday at the Richard Calder Arena in Springhill.
Nova Ice took a 2-0 lead in the first period off goals from Currie and Kierstin Greeno.
Currie scored at the eight-minute mark off a pass from Jasmine Walton, and then Greeno scored two minutes later off a feed from Anna Moore.
The Mariners cut the Nova Ice lead in half at 4:28 into the second period, but Adele Mansour scored less than three minutes later with an assist from Moore.
With the score 3-1, Mansour scored her second goal of the day at 12:50 into the third period putting her team up 4-1. The goal was unassisted.
The road to the final was a bumpy one.
They lost to Yarmouth on Saturday. They were up 2-0 but ended up losing 3-2.
“It was the same today,” said head coach Bliss Walton after the game. “We got up early and they got that goal and we got a little nervous.”
Also, in order to advance to the final, Nova Ice needed Truro to win their game on Saturday.
“Truro had lost all their games all weekend, and the girls went out and cheered them on and we got the result we needed,” said Walton.
Currie also thanked Truro for their help.
“It was good to see them play hard for us because they could have easily thrown it away,” said Currie.
Nova Ice played together for the first time this season. Much of the team is combination of players from the Cumberland County Community Credit Union Midget A Female Ramblers and the Parrsboro Midget A Predators.
“Of the 15 girls, 12 of them were on opposing teams last year,” said Walton. “Between Amherst and Parrsboro there were 12 of them lined up against each other last year.”
Currie grew up playing in the Parrsboro Minor Hockey Association. She says the rivalry between Parrsboro and Amherst has always been intense.
Asked if she every imagined playing on the same team with her new Nova Ice teammates Currie said, “Last year no, definitely not. We were so competitive. We were two very competitive teams.”
That competitiveness brought them together.
“One of the girls in our dressing room (after the game) said, ‘we came together as former rivals and now we’re sisters,’” said Currie. “It’s amazing because we used to be major rivals, Amherst and Parrsboro, and we came together and won.”
It was Walton’s first year coaching the girls and he said they were a pleasure to coach.
“They did everything I asked of them,” he said. “They showed up for every practice and every game and were always willing to do what it takes.”
Walton gives credit to the girls’ former coaches, Chuck Linney, who used to coach the Cumberland team, and Matt Smith, who used to coach the Parrsboro team.
“Chuck and Matt made it very easy to teach them hockey because they did such a good job of it over the years. I just inherited a bunch of good hockey players.”
Six of the girls played their last game of minor hockey on Sunday - Currie, along with Kailey Kane, Megan Proctor, Taylor Hoeg, Kirsten Willigar and goaltender Jennie Underwood.
“The last minute and a half my senior girls were on the ice,” said Walton.
“The girls who went over the boards after the time out were my six senior girls, so everyone who is graduating finished their minor hockey careers on the ice,” he said.
Currie says playing her last minor hockey game is a bittersweet experience.
“It’s sad playing my last minor hockey game, but it’s nice we’re going out this way and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to finish with.”
Currie says she hopes to play university hockey, but no matter what path the girls take in their journey through life, Walton says the girls will always be friends.
“I hope they stick together and remember they always have each other to lean on,” he said.