Players showed a strong ability to handle adversity.
The Parkland Prairie Ice won five straight games in Melville, including two against the host team.
CANORA – The Parkland Prairie Ice, a first-year under-13 girls hockey team, was formed in time for the 2022-23 season to give the area and district girls the opportunity to enjoy girls hockey.
The team’s roster is filled out by girls from a number of area communities including: Canora, Norquay, Sturgis, Kamsack, Preeceville and Yorkton.
The players enjoyed the first game action as a team; won five straight games to take first place in a tournament held December 10-11 in Melville.
Head coach is Nicole Korpusik from Norquay, who was a member of the University of Regina Cougars senior women’s ice hockey team during her playing days.
The Melville tournament began on Saturday when The Ice faced Parkland Fire, the host team, and walked away in a 6-3 win. As it was her first game action as a team, Korpusik admits she wasn’t sure what to expect.
“My jaw hit the ground from the first puck, the lead was amazing and the teamwork blew me away,” said Korpusik. ”
In their first game together, the players demonstrated a strong ability to deal with adversity.
“When The Fire scored against us, it wasn’t a moment where you dropped your head, these girls would flock to each other and bounce back.”
Yorkton’s Harper Danchilla and Avery Lammers led the offense with two goals each. Individual markers came from Ryea Harper of Canora and Rowyn Johnson of Norquay.
The second game came later in the day against the Warman Bearcats in what was a dominant 9-0 shutout for Ice and Norquay goalie Ty Northrop.
“With us, almost every player has contributed to the scorers list, be it through goals or assists. It was great to see,” Korpusik marveled.
Danchilla and Lammers again contributed four goals with two goals each. Canora’s Tessica Mydonick and Sturgis’ Morgan Olson each scored twice, while Preeceville’s Makayla Johnson contributed a goal.
The action started early on Sunday with an 8:30am faceoff against the Warman Bengals.
“The girls played hard, which meant they had to work a little harder and be disciplined because we spent some time in the penalty area in that game,” said Korpusik. “Those penalties were largely the result of hard work, not unsportsmanlike play, so I’ll take them. We won 5-1.”
In the third game in a row, Avery Lammers scored twice. Singles came from Yorkton’s Ryea Harper, Rowyn Johnson and Isabelle Smith.
The final round robin game was against the Hamiota Huskies from across the border in Manitoba. Based on the chart, the ice players knew they qualified for the last game before the puck was dropped.
“But that didn’t stop our girls from living their hearts out. Again we had a great mix of numbers on the archway and came out with a 7-2 win and a round robin unbeaten record.”
Harper Danchilla scored four goals and Morgan Olson added two, with Avery Lammers rounding out the goal.
Korpusik said they had about an hour “to rest and refuel” before hitting the ice for the championship finals, which faced hosts Parkland Fire for the second time in the tournament. The end result was 4-1 for the Ice.
“We knew they would fly out. . This was their tournament and they would be hungry to win. The Fire scored the first goal but our girls reacted quickly and the first third ended with both teams having one on the board each. Our girls showed signs of fatigue and had to dig deep. Passes didn’t come as easily and shots didn’t come into the net as well as before. We’ve battled through frustrations, blisters, sugar lows, headaches and fatigue. We supported each other and persevered, we became champions with a 4-1 win!”
Avery Lammers was the offensive leader in that game with two goals. Canora’s Tessica Mydonick and Cassidy Wolkowski each hit the net to give the ice their lead to victory. Ty Northrop was the winning goalkeeper in all five games and also made an offensive contribution with two assists over the weekend.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these girls,” said Korpusik. “Staying together is easy when you’re fresh and winning, but when you’re tired, hurt and frustrated you show your true colors as a player and as a team. These girls persevered, never gave up, and supported each other through adversity – that’s why they are the champions.”
Jackie Guidry, tournament organizer, was pleased to see that the Saskatchewan and Manitoba Parkland-area teams “had good, competitive games” during the tournament.
“We must continue to raise awareness of women’s hockey throughout Saskatchewan so girls can continue to build lifelong friendships and skills while playing with and against other girls.”
Korpusik is quite impressed with their players’ performances in their short time as a team, given that they only had two training sessions together prior to the Melville tournament.
“Each of the girls on this team plays on a house team in Preeceville, Canora, Kamsack or Yorkton, which means we’re competitors during the regular season. This could make building a new team a challenge. There are five different team schedules to work around in order to plan practices, so finding times that work for everyone and ice times that correspond to open schedules has been a logistical challenge. Luckily we have an incredible manager, Jaime Johnson, who has worked tirelessly to find opportunities for us. I’m proud to say that our players quickly bonded on and off the ice.”
The Ice is now enjoying the Christmas break ahead of preparations for a tournament at Portage la Prairie, Man begin in the New Year. from January 13th to 15th.