The Sudbury Midget AA Lady Wolves
have served notice. With North American Hockey Academy
(NAHA) tournament organizers opting to slide Canadian Midget AA teams into the U16 division (they had traditionally competed with the U19 grouping), the local girls battled their way into the championship final, over the weekend, before falling to the East Coast Wizards.
Following a lengthy bus ride to Vermont Aug. 28, the Lady Wolves were somewhat sluggish out of the gate, dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to the Maine U16 Whitecaps. Spotting their opponents a 2-0 lead, Sudbury rallied behind goals from linemates Sophie Lebrun and Karli Shell, forcing the penalty shot drama.
Coach Richard Walker and company got on the winning track in Game 2, bouncing the Connecticut U16 Polar Bears 4-1, with Meagan McGaughey showing the way with a two-goal effort. Mélisa Kingsley and Lebrun also pulled the trigger for Sudbury.
Needing a win to advance to the championship playdowns, the Lady Wolves outscored Bay State U16 3-1, with the defence handling all of the scoring for Sudbury. Jamie Ricci scored twice, with Carley Olivier adding a solo tally.
The Lady Wolves extended their visit by one extra day, squeezing out a 2-1 shootout quarter-final win over NAHA Red, with Lebrun scoring the equalizer in the dying minutes and Shell netting the only goal of the shootout.
Playing perhaps their best all-around game of the tournament, Sudbury earned a berth in the grand finale with a 2-0 win over Assabet Valley U16 girls, with Sydney Walker opening the scoring and Meagan McGaughey hitting the empty-netter in the final minute to put the nail in the coffin.
North Bay-native Danika Ranger earned the shutout between the pipes, sharing the weekend netminding duties with Danika Lefrançois. Unfortunately, the local girls would come up just a little short in the gold medal affair, as the East Coast Wizards posted a 3-0 whitewash of the Lady Wolves.
The Sudbury crew continue a very hectic early season schedule, heading off to the Stoney Creek Sabres Showcase next weekend, with round robin games against the Dallas Elite, Chicago Fury and Chatham Outlaws.
The event welcomes a total of 64 teams to the Stoney Creek area, including more than 20 from the U.S. Both the Bantam AA and Peewee AA Lady Wolves will travel to the same area, later this month, to open tournament play of their own.