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Nationals provide showcase for Lady Wolves sharpshooter

Karli Shell has made quite a name for herself, finding increasingly creative ways of putting pucks in the net.
A talented goal-scorer and demon of a skater, Lady Wolves forward Karli Shell turned heads at the national Esso Cup two weeks ago. Photo by Randy Pascal
Karli Shell has made quite a name for herself, finding increasingly creative ways of putting pucks in the net.

Competing at the 2014 Esso Cup two weeks ago in Stoney Creek, the Lady Wolves sharpshooter not only garnered the award as the leading scorer in round-robin play, but was also named as the event's top forward.

Quite the accomplishment for a young lady who has always been a tad undersized.

"I remember my parents and I used to go the rink at 7 a.m. here in Walden," Shell said of her first adventures in hockey. "I just loved to skate. My jersey would be down to my knees, but I would be flying out there."

Skating, however, is a skill-set that a great number of very talented female hockey players master with relative ease. Scoring, not so much.

"I'm not really sure where I got it (an offensive flair) from," said Shell. "It just kind of came naturally. I've always seemed to see the ice well, and I've always had good hands."

Blessed with both uncanny hand-eye co-ordination, as well as the ability to shuffle the puck with ease using her skates, Shell differs from many of her teammates in terms of the way she approaches the battles along the boards.

"Most girls, when they go into the corner, they go for the body and try and pin their opponent," she said. "I go for the puck, because that's what you want. Because I'm small, I use my body to protect myself and I try and keep moving."

After earning the national championship berth with a win over Whitby, the Lady Wolves had less than a week before the Esso Cup. Players were kept busy, with little time for the nerves to set in.

"I was excited," said Shell. "I knew that Hockey Canada was going to be there, and it was one of my dreams to be seen by them."

Scoring a goal in every Sudbury game but their shutout semi-final loss to Weyburn, Shell was hard to miss.

While markers were simply a product of being in the right spot at the right time — an unconscious ability that all gifted goal scorers seem to possess — Shell displayed the deft scoring touch that has confounded goaltenders across the province.

On the biggest stage of all, Shell would play some of her very best hockey. With one year left in the Midget ranks and plenty of hopes to attract NCAA interest, the girl from Walden did about as much as she could to get herself noticed.

"I sure hope it helped," Shell laughed. "If that wasn't enough, then I'm a little worried."