The Lacombe Viking Edge U16B team are the Lacombe Ringette Icebreaker tournament champions.
The U16B Edge went undefeated throughout the tournament, which was held last weekend at the Barnett Arenas in Lacombe, to claim the top prize in their category with an 8-1 win over the Edmonton Ice Devils in the final game.
“It went good. We’ve played most of those teams in league so the girls played well,” said Coach Larry Litwin.
The Viking Edge swept through pool play, handily defeating both Beaumont and Saskatoon before encountering their first real challenge of the weekend in their third pool game against Edmonton, which ended in a 3-3 tie.
The tie meant the two teams would meet again in the final on Sunday.
“We didn’t what to really expect since they tied us,” Litwin said.
The Viking Edge persevered, though, and surged to an 8-1 romp of the Ice Devils on Sunday morning to clinch the gold medal.
“The girls didn’t play very good in the tie. We’re one of the top teams in the league and Edmonton is one of the weaker teams so they kind of shocked us with the tie,” said the coach.
Litwin added part of the team’s success comes from the girls’ familiarity with each other.
“The girls really started playing like we want them to. Passing, scoring, they’re really starting to gel right now. It’s actually the same group of girls that we had a year and a half ago when we won provincials in U14 so they’re a really good group.”
And provincials, he said, is the goal for the U16B girls this season.
The home ice win comes on the heels of a tough overtime loss in the gold medal game of the Brass Ring Tournament in Beaumont in October.
“That was kind of tough for the girls. They’ve never actually lost a tournament, so this felt pretty good.”
Also taking home a medal from this weekend are the Lacombe U14A Edge, who claimed the silver medal after a tough 6-1 loss to the Strathmore Ice in the final.
The tournament itself took place through the entire weekend and featured 32 teams in six divisions competing on three ice surfaces in Lacombe and Clive.
They also had one team from Saskatoon come into town to compete.
“It went really well. I think the kids had a lot of fun,” said Tarina Hampton, who was on the organizing committee and was in charge of the on-ice side of the tournament.
Overall, Hampton said everything went smoothly.
“It takes a lot of planning and there’s a lot of people involved. Thankfully we had a lot of volunteers to help get it all organized and it ended up turning out really well. The weather helped, when it doesn’t snow and teams can get there, that always helps,” she said.
And things went smoothly off the ice too, according to Chantal Romanow, who was in charge of the raffle part of the tourney.
“When it came down to Lacombe the response of the donors and sponsors was awesome,” Romanow said, adding sometimes sponsors can be difficult to find around the Christmas season.
This is the first of two Icebreaker tournaments the Association holds in the year and featured teams in U12B and C, U14A and B, U16B, and U19B.
The next Icebreaker tournament, for teams in U10 and the open category, is set for Jan. 8th-10th.