The Central Alberta U19AA Sting Ringette team managed to capture a bronze medal in Lacombe in front of their home fans over the weekend at the Ice Breaker Tournament.
The tournament, which was held at the Gary Moe Autogroup Sportsplex, saw the Sting manage to win their pool and make it to the semi-finals.
“We were down 5-3 and then we scored a couple quick ones to make it 5-5. They scored with about three minutes left, so we lost that one,” Head Coach Shawn Wagar said.
Wagar said his team had to spend Saturday night wishing they were in the gold medal game, but they were still ready to play the following morning.
“We won the bronze medal game in overtime. They were excited,” he said.
The bronze comes shortly after the Sting won a silver medal in Edmonton. These are early promising results for a team looking to go to the Ringette National Championships in Winnipeg.
“We have a really young team. We have nine first-years,” Wagar said.
“We were really pleased. It is a tough six-team division that we play throughout the province. The teams up in Edmonton and St. Albert and the two Calgary teams are all tough but we are finding our way. We seem to be doing pretty well.”
Wagar said many of his veteran players contributed to a team that medalled at Nationals last year. That experience is paying off in spades this year.
“We also have solid first- and second-years that help out. It is a nice mix,” he added.
Wagar was thankful to the organizers of the tournament, who hosted teams from three different age groups.
“Our organizers are fabulous. We put on a sort of country fair-market theme. We were able to run all of our divisions and it was a wonderful weekend. Three of the last four games in our division went into overtime so there was good competition,” he said.
He added playing in Lacombe is something his girls are excited for, with most of the team coming from Lacombe, Red Deer and surrounding areas.
“We play our home games out of Penhold and we travel a lot. It is nice for them to have their friends and grandparents out to the games,” Wagar said.
The Sting will now take Christmas off before a busy 2018 schedule.
“Our next big tournament is in Calgary in January. We then travel to Vancouver the start of February and then mid-February we have Provincials in Edmonton. If things go well, hopefully we will go to Nationals in Winnipeg,” he said.
The Sting need to finish in the top four to be able to compete at Nationals.
“It will be close. Between the six teams, they are all close. We have to stay healthy and continue to play well,” he said.
He added that he wanted to thank the organizers.
“It was a neat weekend. The girls really enjoyed it and it was a nice way to go into our Christmas break,” he said.