Sooke’s girls midget hockey team travelled north to Port McNeill last weekend and came home with a shiny new cup.
After travelling most of the day Friday, the Sooke Thunderbirds took to the ice Saturday morning to face the host and pre-tournament favorite TriPort.
Never a good early morning squad, the Sooke girls were soundly beaten 7-0 by the hosts. Two early goals took the wind out of the Thunderbirds’ sails and the girls were never able to find a way back into the game.
After a lunch and a quick nap, the Thunderbirds returned to the ice Saturday afternoon in a must-win game against their rivals from Cowichan.
Kailee Purnell got Sooke on the board first but they couldn’t find the net again until late in the game.
With just five minutes remaining, the Thunderbirds found themselves down 2-1 and in penalty trouble. That’s when Alyssa Lloyd scored two short-handed goals to pull out the victory. Revenge was sweet, as one month earlier Lloyd had sustained a concussion in a penalty filled loss against that same Cowichan team.
Later in the day, the girls were back on the ice for their third game of the day.
Co-Captain Hailey Dimock announced her return from a two game suspension, as she “lit it up” with three goals and six points in another come-from-behind win against Campbell River.
Sooke trailed by one goal with 10 minutes remaining but the newly formed combination of Dimock, Lloyd and Olivia Carello combined for four late goals to seal a 7-4 victory. Lloyd and Carello had two goals each.
The Gold Medal match was set for Sunday morning and the Thunderbirds were clear underdogs against the home team, whose confidence was sky high after their 7-0 victory on Saturday.
Tri-Port once again took the early lead and was up 2-0 after one period, but it was clear they were facing a much more determined Sooke side in this game.
Goals by Dimock and Carello had the match all even entering the third period.
Dimock continued her torrid pace with another goal midway through the third and she sealed the victory with an empty net marker in the final minute.
Goaltender Selena Madill earned MVP of the gold medal game with a brilliant performance, closing the door for the final two periods.
Previous game MVP honors went to co-captain Jamie Lafontaine, Alyssa Lloyd and Hailey Dimock while the “digger” awards in each game went to Carello, Chevy Alexander, Victoria Sutherland and Kailee Purnell.
“The weekend performance was definitely the highlight of the season,” said coach Peter Faulkner.
“Winning gold takes a total team effort and huge contributions also came from forwards Desiree Cumming, Jessica Graham, Jasmine Kumar and Kaitlin McKelvey, as well as defensemen Alison Sudlow, Hailey Olejnik and Kaylee Peaker.”
The Thunderbirds are hoping for continued success as they enter the second half of the regular season, which begins Saturday (Jan. 16) at Seaparc against Juan de Fuca Grizzlies. Game time is 9 a.m.