Prairie Central went undefeated throughout the tournament to win gold over South East at the Saskatchewan Winter Games Saturday; a feat made all the more impressive when considering most of the team met each other less than a week ago.
Both teams entered the finals undefeated in the preliminary round and had almost identical goal differentials. Prairie Central was plus 18 in the tournament while South East was one goal behind at plus 17.
Karla Odnokon, coach of Prairie Central, said she was extremely proud of her team, especially as many were playing with each other for the first time.
“For most of us this is our first time being here,” Odnokon said. “This is the first time the girls have come together as a team. We have been doing some team building and having a ton of fun with the atmosphere at the winter games.”
Odnokon said the key to making the team gel, which has never played together before, was to simplify the system.
“We tried to make it easy so they could see success quickly. Then it was all about trying to get them to know each other. Team building was the main goal for the week.”
Odnokon added teambuilding was comprised of games and activities centred around the winter games. She said in an event like this, it is easy to find things to do as a team to help them bond.
The game itself was a very close affair. It was a 2-1 game heading into the third and the pressure was certainly on as both teams had their fair share of chances.
South East had great chance to tie the game after Prairie Central took a tripping penalty with just over seven minutes left in the third period. It was Prairie Central who would capitalize on a South East turnover in the defensive end. A clearing attempt found its way onto defenseman McKenzie Mayo’s stick, who made no mistake putting the puck far side past the goaltender. Prairie Central would hold on and take home gold.
Highlights from the finals:
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