Midget female provincials hit Okotoks
Hockey: Oilers prepare for Alberta's elite on home-ice this weekend
Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 08:33 pm
Okotoks Oilers schedule
March 20 (7 p.m. Murray)
Okotoks vs. Sherwood Park
March 21 (10:30 a.m. Murray)
Okotoks vs. Grande Prairie
March 21 (3:45 p.m. Pason)
Okotoks vs. Onoway
March 22 (1 p.m. Murray)
Okotoks hockey fans have a unique opportunity this weekend to take in the first provincial tournament of its kind in the foothills.
The Okotoks Oilers will for the first time host the Midget A Female hockey provincials, March 20-23, as the latest showcase for one of the province’s most developed female programs.
“We talked as a team about hosting and we thought we had a good enough team this year to make it worthwhile,” said Midget A Oilers head coach Roddie Davidson. “Okotoks has a really strong female program so we thought it would be inspirational for the younger girls as well and give them something to look forward to.”
Since winning the bid, the Oilers have been in preparation mode for the 10-team tournament featuring squads from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Onaway, Grande Prairie, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Olds, Fort Saskatchewan and Calgary.
“Beforehand we talk a lot about visualizing goals and the feeling you have when you win,” said Oilers co-captain Maddie Wilton-Clark. “It really helps when you visualize hitting the back of the net with the puck.”
The Oilers can draw on experience in successfully meandering to a tournament title as they took home the gold medal in a field of U19 teams in December as the sole Canuck representatives at the Bozeman, Montana competition.
“We felt pressured in the beginning because the majority of the teams were higher skill level than us,” said Oilers blueliner Danielle Meyers. “But, coming in being the Canadian team, we knew we had a reputation to maintain so we definitely brought that.
“That set the tone for us for quite a while. We continued our winning streak for a couple games.”
Okotoks finished in the middle of the pack, registering a 7-7-4 record, in a highly competitive Midget Tier 1 division of the Rocky Mountain Female Hockey League.
“The only team in our pool that’s in our league is Onoway. We get to play a lot of new teams,” said Oilers co-captain Cassidy Davidson. “We don’t go out seeing how they’re going to play. We set the tone and go as hard as we can.
“We’ve heard from other teams that they hate playing us, we’re the number one team they hate because we’re so physical and probably the fastest team in the league.”
The Oilers will need more of the same in their push for a provincial gold medal.
The unforgiving provincial tournament sees just the top-two teams from its pool of five advance through to the semifinal stage on Sunday morning, meaning teams can ill-afford poor starts if they want to make it out of round-robin play.
“It’s a really nice way to end off the year, to end off as a team in our home arenas,” said Oilers centre Jordyn Snyder. “There is definitely a lot of pressure, but with all the support we’re going to be getting from everyone it’s going to be a lot easier to play in front of friends, family, your community out there supporting you.
“We’ve come into this well prepared and you have to go in expecting to win, and we’re going in expecting to win.”
Both semifinals run at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning at the Murray and Pason Centennial arenas. The tournament final is slated for a 1:30 p.m. puck-drop on Sunday at Pason.
For the full tournament schedule visit hockeyalberta.ca/provincials. To keep up with the latest on the Midget A tournament follow the twitter handle @midgetagirls.