Lacoka brings home silver from provincial championships

It’s a tough loss, but still a finish Lacoka can be proud of.

It’s a tough loss, but still a finish Lacoka can be proud of.

On March 23, the Lacoka Midget Girls lost 7-6 in overtime to the Cold Lake Jaguars at the 2014 Alberta Provincial championships, taking silver in the tournament.

Coach Randy Burt said while an overtime loss in such a close game is always a hard pill to swallow, the finish was both satisfying and unexpected, as Lacoka was hoping to get bronze at best in the tournament, if they even made it that far.

“Our expectation was not to make the semi-final,” said Burt.

Burt went on to say that the turnaround came going into the final game of the round-robin, which would put Lacoka in first place for seeding if they won, second place if they tied and send them home if they lost.

There weren’t really any weak teams in Lacoka’s pool and most of the games were won by a goal or two, added Burt.

Hannah Stretch, Lacoka team captain, agreed that the team was surprised to make it to the final, saying she and her teammates were happy just to make it to provincials at the onset of the tournament.

“We weren’t even thinking about silver or gold,” said Stretch. She added that this year’s team is the first midget team in Lacoka’s history to make it to provincials.

Stretch said that during the tournament, Lacoka came together as a team more than they ever had previously this season.

She said that the players played their best and supported each other when it mattered most.

As to the final match itself, Burt said it was an intense matchup and nail-biting close game. While Lacoka opened scoring for the game, Cold Lake was quick to catch up and surpass them, leaving Lacoka to play catch-up for most of the game, said Burt.

Lacoka even trailed by two at two separate occasions during the game, he added.

Each time Lacoka would tie or get a point back, Cold Lake would score again within minutes. Burt added that even though Lacoka dominated play in the offensive end, particularly in the third period, the strong defense of Cold Lake prevented Lacoka from scoring many goals.

“It was hair-raising.”

Burt said that some of the players were very upset initially after losing the game, but he added that he is very proud and a little surprised at how well his team played.

“It was a fantastic game,” said Burt. “I certainly wasn’t disappointed. We did better than I expected, certainly, the girls performed way beyond my expectations.

Stretch said that it was exciting, not to mention somewhat stressful, to just be in the final game.

“Even being in that game was nerve-wracking,” said Stretch. She went on to say that, whenever the team was down, they battled back to make up the score.

“I thought that showed a lot about our character,” said Stretch.

As for the outcome of the game, Stretch said she was more than happy to settle for silver.

“I was just ecstatic that we made it that far and got silver,” said Stretch.

Burt also commended Lacoka’s opponents, the Cold Lake Jaguars, for their sportsmanship. He said that when photos were taken after the medal presentations, both teams came together for a photo with both the silver and gold medal winners.

“It was hugely classy, I can’t say enough about them,” said Burt.