Airdrie residents win inaugural national tournament with Lady Mountaineers
The Edge Mountaineers ladies prep team made a little bit of history recently by winning the inaugural Female World Sport School Challenge (WSSC), which was held in Winnipeg, Man., Feb. 21 to 24.
It is the second WSSC medal for the Edge School this year, as its boys midget AA Gold team won the varsity bronze medal in January.
“We were fortunate to be invited and it was a great feeling to win,” said Mountaineers head coach Scott Fukami.
“The girls had to fight to earn it in the semis and the final, but it was a great challenge and we were fortunate to come out on top.”
The WSSC was hosted by St. Mary’s academy and sponsored by Hockey Canada. It featured teams from across the country.
The Moutaineers opened the tournament against Okanagan. Alex Serpico, Cassandra Vilgrain and Darla O’Neil all scored for Edge, but Okanagan beat the Mountaineers 4-3 in a shootout.
Edge won its next two round-robin games handily, 7-1 over St. Mary’s and a 14-3 with Fort Frances, and defeated POE 6-4 in the semi-final. The win set up a re-match with Okanagan for the gold medal.
O’Neil and Serpico each scored in the final, as did Emily Monagham. Forwards Karly Heffernan and Vilgrain both added empty-net goals to seal the win for the Mountaineers.
Airdrie’s Emily Power was one of nine Rocky View County area players on the Edge’s gold medal team and said the shootout loss to Okanagan paired with the win in the final has added another facet to a rivalry that has been developing all season between the two teams.
“They’re a great team and they bring out the best in us,” Power said.
“I feel like we played well and came through when it counted.”
Fukami said the tournament has been another step forward in growing women’s hockey at the amateur level in Canada.
Along with exciting on-ice action, the tournament also had some star power behind it.
Jennifer Botterill served as the event’s ambassador. Botterill retired from competitive hockey in 2011, but during her 15-year career she played for Canada at four Olympics Games (1998 – 2010), winning three gold medals and one silver.