The head coach of the Saltfleet Storm girls hockey team says his players are looking forward to hitting the ice at the provincial championships next week.
“The girls are very excited to have the opportunity,” Steve Cadogan said. “I think we will have all of our players, which is obviously key. I think we have the opportunity to finish pretty well.”
Saltfleet earned a trip to the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations AAA championships March 18 to 21 in Sudbury, after beating Welland’s Notre Dame Irish 3-2 in the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association championships final last Monday in Niagara Falls. The Storm also defeated Grimsby’s Blessed Trinity Thunder 4-2 in their first game of the event.
Cadogan said the team’s victory over Notre Dame was the result of a “great team game” and “solid goaltending.”
“We were short-staffed in the game, but our defence and goaltending by Mackenzie Mccullough were very good,” he said. “There were some girls who hadn’t scored in a while and they were really able to rise to the occasion. The girls that did play were pretty confident and felt that we could beat the teams involved.”
Saltfleet qualified for SOSSA, after shutting out the Ancaster Royals 3-0 in the Hamilton public high school division one championship last month.
The Storm finished first during the regular season – just one point ahead of the Royals – with a 7-1 record.
Cadogan said the team has had a pretty good run so far this season.
“We have a really good (overall) record of 17-2-1, but it has seemed a little disjointed at times,” he said. “We win a lot of games, but even though we outshoot most teams, we often just squeak out a win. That is also good, in that, even when we didn’t play well we still managed to win.”
Saltfleet is ranked 12th heading into OFSAA.
Cadogan said the Storm will need to be at full strength to be successful at the 16-team event.
“The games are longer then we play here, so we will need our full lineup and our goalies, who are both injured, to be healthy,” he said. “I think that the top few teams will be really strong and after that, there could be any number of upsets. If we play our absolute best, we can challenge some of the top teams.”