Nobody could have imagined how the Zone 2 ringette squad would have performed this season.
“It was an unbelievably surprising year,” said Zone 2 head coach Steve Rosenberg. “They blew my expectations out of the water. I was just hoping we didn’t lose every game this year.”
Zone 2 hosted the U19A provincials this past weekend in Rockyford. They clipped the Calgary NW Grit 5-4 in the gold medal game, earning the right to represent Alberta at the Ringette Western Championships in Winnipeg, March 22-25.
The squad is comprised of players from communities around the Calgary area, such as Strathmore, Cochrane, Chestermere, Rockyford, Airdrie and Indus.
Their provincial journey started with a 2-2 tie against St. Albert and a 7-6 overtime loss to Leduc.
“We lost our second game at the buzzer in overtime and that was a wake-up call for us,” said Strathmore product Ashley LeCavalier, who scored two goals in the championship game. “We came out a little nervous and I think we thought we were going to play better in general.”
From there, Zone 2 took off, with wins over South Calgary (3-1) and Sherwood Park (6-4) in the semis.
For Rockyford product Taneil Kalbhen, provincials weren’t a big deal. Capturing the gold medal marked her fifth-straight season as provincial champion.
“This was my first year playing at the A level, and I didn’t know what to expect out of my team and the competition,” she said. “We just got rolling at the beginning of the year and didn’t stop.”
What makes this provincial win even more impressive was that the team was non-existent a year ago.
Players, parents and potential coaches gathered back in September to see what kind of interest there was in the team.
With a new roster of players that grew up playing against each other, nobody knew what to expect playing in one of the higher caliber ringette leagues in Alberta.
Shattering expectations, Zone 2 racked up tournament wins in Strathmore, Calgary and Airdrie this season, while going 11-4-1, finishing second in league play.
Zone 2 will have 12 days to prepare for Western’s in Winnipeg. They are the first Zone 2 team to represent Alberta at a provincial competition.
Local girls on the team are: Julia Bishop (Langdon), Lauryn Eitzen (Strathmore), LeCavalier (Strathmore), Jessica Clyne (Rockyford) and Kalbhen (Rockyford).