The Bantam ‘A’ female Bulldogs capped of a great season with a provincial championship, during the Day of Campions, April 14, in Truro.
The Bulldogs defeated Western Riptide White 5-0 in the final game, with goals coming from Julia MacDonald, who recorded a hat-trick, and singles from Kaylee Connors and Mairinn Kennedy.
Gracie Chisolm earned the shutout in goal.
The Bulldogs, who were coached by Paul Keats along with assistants Kevin Starkomski, Trevor Chisholm and Brenna MacDonald, with Becky Reid taking on the role of trainer, had a great year; finishing with a record of 39 wins and six losses in regular season, playoff and tournament play.
In tournament action, they finished with a bronze medal at the SEDMHA tournament in November, and then went on to win gold, back-to-back, at the DQ Tournament in Moncton in January and the Spring Thaw Tournament, during March break, going undefeated in both.
In regular season play, they posted a 15-3 record in a 10-team provincial league, finishing second by one point behind a very strong team from Pictou. In the final round of the playoffs, they faced off against Fundy Highland Subway Selects in the best of three series and went on to sweep the Selects in two games; by the scores of 3-1 and 4-3, which earned them their spot at the Day of Champions.
Coach Keats credits the team’s success to the hard work, both on- and off-ice, by the players during the season.
“We were fortunate to take advantage of former St. F.X. X-Women hockey player Nicole Corcoran, who gave up her time, weekly, to run the girls through an off-ice dryland program and the team is very thankful for her contributions,” Keats wrote in an email to the Casket.
“Along with the off-ice training, the team worked very hard all year on individual development and team development, during all practices. It was evident all players improved individually and as a team, which was one of the main objectives set out at the beginning of the year.”
Keats noted he was grateful to see the first-year and second-year players bond seamlessly.
“I was pleased with how our first-year players, of which we had 11, and our six second-year players came together to form a strong team, combined with skill and experience, which lead to our success,” he wrote.
“It was a combination of our forwards providing grit and offensive punch, along with a strong defensive core and superb goaltending, which allowed us the ability to challenge our opponents each and every game.”
Team members included:
Kara Beaton, Grace MacDougall, Mariann Kennedy, Jia Li Rennie, Hailey Richards and Mary Beth Brophy on defence; Lauren Keats, Julia MacDonald, Jaelyn Rovers, Isabelle Lawrence, Lauren Starkomski, Brooklyn Carter, Ria van de Sande, Alexis MacDougall, Kaylee Connors and Kailey Nash at forward; with Gracie Chisholm in goal
“The team would like to thank the community for its support throughout the year which was evident at the Day of Champions in which a huge contingent of fans drove to Truro for the final game,” the coach added.