Crusaders advance to OFSAA girls’ hockey championship

By Larry Moko

A convincing victory over Burlington Assumption has qualified the St. Mary Crusaders for the upcoming provincial girls’ A/AA high school hockey championship tournament.

St. Mary outscored the home team 5-1 in the third period en route to an 8-2 decision in the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference final at Central Arena on Wednesday.

The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league titleholders got five goals by Morgan Giannone, two by Jessica Bonneville and one by Kendra Ruhl.

This year’s OFSAA showcase event for A/AA schools will be March 24-26 in Stratford.

“The girls are excited … they want to go to OFSAA,” Crusaders coach Jim Brown said. “It’s difficult to tell what the other teams have, but I’m anxious to go and see how well our team will compete. If we bring it like we did (in the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic final win over the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals) I definitely think we have an opportunity to do well.”

Co-captain and defenceman Paige Sheehan is one of a handful of Grade 12 players in the St. Mary lineup.

“When we went in Grade 9, we were just happy to get there,” Sheehan said. “This year, we have a chance of doing well. We’re going to try to go all the way.

“We play as a team, which is huge. Overall, it’s a good dynamic with strong younger girls and strong older girls.”

When asked about Sheehan who plays club hockey in Flamborough, Brown said: “Paige has developed into a much better player and she’s definitely a leader.”

St. Mary won the OFSAA consolation championship in 2016 and reached the quarter-finals before bowing out in 2017.

Elsewhere, at the AAA level of girls’ hockey, Newman was nipped 3-2 in a GHAC semifinal by Burlington’s Notre Dame Fighting Irish. That game was played Wednesday at Mainway Ice Centre.

The Newman team this season was comprised by Kayla Beaudoin, Payton Bennett, Cassandra Germana, Paige Goethem, Reece Homewood, Natalie Kresina, Izabella Lancia, Maya Leko, Natalie Mamone, Rylar Melander, Sophie Mielko, Vanessa Nicoletti, Paige Richmond, Nicole Romeo, Savannah Singh, Rachel Starsenic, Vanessa Upson, Megan Warrener, Gillian Zwolak and Grace Zwolak.

Source: Marnie Jadon

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