Zone 2 captures first-ever U19A provincial title
Monday, Mar 13, 2017 06:00 am
In its first season of competing at the Under-19 (U19) A level, the Zone 2 ringette team has captured its first provincial championship and will represent Alberta in the 2017 Western Canadian Ringette Championships in Winnipeg, Man., March 23 to 25.
Representatives from Cochrane, Strathmore, Chestermere, Langdon, Airdrie and Rockyford joined together this season, in what was some of the girls’ first time playing together. The team was not only competitive in the Ringette Calgary League (RCL), but a force to be reckoned with at provincials.
“Provincials is a really tough tournament to win,” head coach Steve Rosenberg said. “All the best teams are there, so it was good competition and the girls were just excellent.
“It’s a proud moment to see this ragtag group come together and upset some of the superpowers (in the sport) and represent Team Alberta in Winnipeg.”
With girls ranging between the ages of 16 and 18 years old, the team was built with the intention of hosting the Alberta Provincial U19A Championships on March 10 to 12. Rosenberg said he wasn’t sure how the team would compete against the rest of the province.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “We didn’t know if we would win one game all year or what…The girls came together and we surprised a lot of teams.”
Girls from Rocky View representing the team include Danielle Rosenberg and Rovanna Irvin of Cochrane, Chestermere’s Amy Pearson and Langdon’s Keegan Gregory and Julie Bishop.
“There are some really talented girls in the zone and we have played against each other for years,” Danielle said.
After posting an 11-4-1 regular season record in the RCL, the team gelled together and was ready to make a run at a provincial title.
The team’s provincials didn’t get off to quite the start it hoped for as it opened the tournament with a 2-2 tie against the St. Albert Sigma and a 7-6 overtime loss to the Leduc Jaguars March 3.
Zone 2 bounced back the next day with a crucial 3-1 victory over the South Calgary Dawgs to finish the round robin 1-0-1-1 and take first in its group.
“The third game was a must-win and there was quite a bit of pressure on us,” Danielle said. “We went pretty confident because we hadn’t lost to (the Dawgs) all season.”
The team then took on the Sherwood Park Rush in the semifinals and won 6-4 to set up a finals match against the Northwest Calgary Grit.
In another close game Zone 2 won 5-4 March 5 to earn its first provincial title and the right to represent Alberta at westerns against provincial winners from British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
“I’ve been playing ringette for 12 years and this is my first time winning provincials,” Bishop said. “Some girls have won provincials four or five times, but this was a really cool moment for me because I’ve never been in that situation before.”
Heading into provincials, the team hopes to be successful but knows it’s going to be a tough battle against some of the best from across western Canada.
“We are a good team. We had this potential and we used that motivation to set (westerns) as a goal,” Rosenberg said. “The girls drove for it and they got it…It’s been an outstanding year and we couldn’t ask for much more.”