This past weekend, Lacoka Girls Hockey hosted their 2013 Female Hockey Tournament in Lacombe.
The tournament saw 11 teams in two divisions participating in games held from Nov. 15 – 17 at the Barnett Arenas.
In the midget division, both the Lacoka Midgets and Lacoka Bantams were winless in the first two days of the tournament, meaning neither team was able to advance to the finals on Sunday. Despite their disappointing finishes in the tournament, coaches from both teams were impressed with how the girls played.
Lacoka Midget Coach Randy Burt said that in the team’s final game, which they lost 4-2 against Lloydminster Saturday evening, the players showed great improvement in their play from the beginning of the tournament.
“This game went way better.” He added that a lack of effort was the biggest problem for the Midgets in their earlier games.
“We can play way better than we did (in those games).”
Although the Midgets dominated puck control during their final game, keeping the majority of play in their offensive end for all three periods, Lacoka still came up short on the scoreboard.
Burt said that it is a problem that has plagued the team all season so far and one the team will need to continue to work on as the season progresses. He added even though the team can control play in the offensive end, they have a lot of work to do when it comes to getting shots on goal and past the goalie. “We made the goaltender look good. We gave her opportunities to stop stuff that she shouldn’t have had.”
Talent is the team’s biggest strength, said Burt. He added that the biggest challenge facing the Midgets is unlocking that talent by making sure the players give a strong effort every game and play the full 60 minutes of hockey.
While considered a bantam team, pee wee aged players make up just under half of the Lacoka Bantam team, said Coach Mark Sieben. Combining that with playing in a Midget tournament, the girls were hard pressed to keep up with their older and more experienced opponents.
However, the Bantams showed perseverance and determination to give it their all despite their disadvantages. In the Bantam’s first game, a 10-0 blowout against Olds, the Bantams never gave up and played hard every shift as if indifferent to the numbers on the scoreboard.
Sieben said instilling confidence in the team was something they began very early on. He added when choosing the Bantam’s team captains, the coaches charged the captains with keeping the team motivated.
“Coming from the coaches they don’t always want to listen but coming from their peers they will believe it more.”
Coach Tim Falkiner said that the captains have done a fantastic job so far and are always keeping things positive on the bench.
“I think our girls did amazing,” said Falkiner. “They played very well. I’m very proud of them all.”
Lacoka Bantams play in a bantam/midget league for regular season games as well. Sieben said the team’s problems in league are much the same as they were in the tournament – opponents are often older and more experienced.
Sieben added the Bantams also had two beginner goalies which made things difficult for the team.
“Until we get them up to speed we’re going to have a few scores like this.”