Nail-biting title victory a first for Lourdes girls puck program
By Ned Bekavac
The Our Lady of Lourdes Crusaders girls hockey team penned themselves into the school’s history books on Tuesday afternoon.
“They’re very excited,” said Crusaders coach James Seguin, while boisterous voices from the team’s dressing room echoed in the background.
“It’s our first D10 championship. Ever,” he said.
Yes, thanks to a nail-biting 2-1 shootout victory over the Orangeville Bears in the District 10 final on Tuesday in front of a couple hundred fans at the West End Rec Centre, these Crusaders have become an eternal answer to a school sports trivia question.
They’re a small fish in a big pond – Lourdes is classified as an AA school, meaning its enrolment is much smaller than the vast majority of its competition – but here they are, the champs. Lourdes has just 15 players on its roster, and they were down a few bodies for the final. More than half the team is made up of players in Grade 9 or 10.
At the start of the season, the team’s goal was to make a dent on the CWOSSA AA front – where they compete against similar-sized schools – but things kind of changed.
“About halfway through the season we said, ‘You know what? We have a shot at this D10 title. Let’s make that our focus and see what we can do,’ ” said Seguin.
“And they came to play today,” he said.
Lourdes opened the scoring early, on a power-play marker from Alyssa Bolliger.
The locals, who had a pair of goals disallowed in the game, led 1-0 all the way until Orangeville’s Shannon Dunford tied it with a power-play goal late in the third period. Orangeville had the momentum going into the 10-minute OT period, which had lots of open ice thanks to it being 3-on-3 hockey.
And while the Bears might have had the lion’s share of chances throughout, Lourdes goalie Steph Jordan was a rock between the pipes.
If you would like to describe any of her saves as “sick,” you might be doing so in more ways than one.
“She was sick, throwing up last night with the flu. For her to come out here . . . she’s just been that good all season,” said Seguin. “She’s been unbelievable, the girls have huge confidence in her.”
After a scoreless overtime, the game went to shootouts and each team went 1-for-3. Erica Costa scored on her shot for Lourdes.
Then came a sudden-death shootout. Jordan made a save for Lourdes on the first Bears shot, and then Bolliger – who missed a shootout try earlier – stepped up to try to seal the deal as the decibel levels in the rink grew.
Bolliger skated in, buried it, and the party was on.
Lourdes was to play against Norwell today in a CWOSSA A/AA qualifying game in Guelph, but the game has been postponed due to poor weather conditions. The game is now scheduled for Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Exhibition Arena.
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Crusaders championship roster:
• Alyssa Bolliger (Grade 12)
• Erica Costa (12)
• Kayla Meadows (12)
• Colleen Scott (12)
• Steph Jordan (11)
• Danni O’Connell (11)
• Heidi Raab (11)
• Brin Krueger (10)
• Emily Beattie (10)
• Jamilee Casey (10)
• Emily Synnott (9)
• Katie Heath (9)
• Layne Beaver (9)
• Mackenzie Hanlon (9)
• Maddy Krusky (9)
• James Seguin
• Mike MacPherson
• Cathy Bolliger