By Cole Parkinson
Sunny South News
Last weekend, the town of Picture Butte hosted plenty of U13 female hockey players as the U13 Female Blades were the host for U13 A provincials.
After season-ending tournaments have been cancelled over the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team was ecstatic to host U13 Female A Provincials for the first time in what feels like forever. Along with Picture Butte, Grand Prairie, Red Deer, Airdrie, and Cochrane made the trek to southern Alberta for the tournament.
The Blades kicked off their tournament against Cochrane on March 31. The Blades came out hot as they took a 2-0 lead in the first period and they didn’t slow down in the second as they extended that lead to 4-1 heading into the final frame. The third period saw the Blades continue to pour on the offence as they potted another four goals en route to an 8-2 win in the first game of the tournament.
Jayden Quinn was unstoppable with the puck as the Blade scored five goals while Cashton No Runner collected four assists, Mahala Welby had three assists, Wytten Constant had two goals and an assist, Emma Groenenboom, Bridget Gellrich, and Addison Trotter all had two assists each, Sienna Howg had a goal and an assist, and Mylee Stroeve had an assist. Emily Campmans was in between the pipes for Butte and the netminder made 18 saves on 20 shots. Butte fired 22 of their own shots at the opposing netminder.
Friday saw the Blades play in a pair of games — the first being against the Grande Prairie Knights. The first period was incredibly busy for both teams as the Knights scored the first goal, but the Blades would answer right back with a pair of their own. Unfortunately, the Knights would answer back 25 seconds later and the teams would see a 2-2 tie heading into the first intermission. The second period belonged to Grande Prairie as they would score an early goal to take a 3-2 lead and then midway through the period, they would extend that lead to 4-2, which would hold until the second intermission. Down two heading into the third, the Blades were undeterred as they battle hard to make a comeback. They would cut the lead to one just over six minutes into the period and only a few minutes later, the Blades would tie the game. With the game all square, neither Butte nor Grande Prairie was able to find a game-winning goal as the game ended 4-4. Quinn continued to find the back of the net as she had a pair of goals while Stroeve had a goal and an assist, Gellrich had the other Butte goal, and Welby and Constant had an assist each. Campmans was back in the Blade net and the netminder was busy as she turned away 27 of 31 shots in the game. The Blades meanwhile fired 19 shots on the Knight goal.
The final game on Friday saw the host team take on Red Deer. It was another close game for the Blades as they matched up well against Red Deer. The Blades would score first in the opening period and take a 1-0 lead into the break. The Blades would extend that lead early in the second period, but Red Deer was able to battle back and score two of their own before the end of the period. The final frame was a defensive battle between the two teams and neither was able to pot a goal as the game ended 2-2. The Blades were strong once again as they fired 34 shots at the Red Deer netminder, but the opposing goalie was up to the task.
Gellrich and Amy Serfas had the Blade goals with Quinn, Welby, Trotter, and Taylor Van Diemen drawing an assist each. Campmans got the start once again for Picture Butte and the goalie was spectacular as she turned away 34 of 36 shots.
The round-robin wrapped on Saturday afternoon with a game against Airdrie. Like the previous two games, the Blades were in a battle that resulted in no breathing room. The first period saw Airdrie take the lead into the first intermission. The opposing team would extend that lead early in the second period, but Butte would answer with a goal of their own to make it 2-1. Seconds later though, Airdrie would once again extend that lead to two as the midway part neared in the middle frame. That goal didn’t discourage the Blades one bit as they scored their second goal of the game a minute and 14 seconds later. With a 3-2 score and the intermission looming, the Blades were able to pot a tying goal with under three minutes to go. Much like the previous third period, the Blades and Airdrie were locked in a tie and despite Airdrie taking three penalties, the Blades were unable to capitalize and the game ended 3-3. Welby was dangerous with the puck on her stick as the Blade scored two goals while Quinn had the other. Groenenboom, Maya Madsen, and No Runner chipped in with an assist each. The Blades once again peppered the opposing goalie as they fired 37 shots on net. Meanwhile, Campmans manned the Butte crease and made 12 saves on 15 shots.
After the round-robin, Grande Prairie finished in first place with a 3-0-1 record and seven points, Red Deer and Butte were tied for second with a 2-1-1 record and 1-0-3 record, respectively, Airdrie was in fourth with a 0-2-2- record and two points, and Cochrane finished in last with a 0-3-1 record and one point. In the semi-final round, Butte matched up against Red Deer while Grande Prairie took to the ice against Airdrie. Grande Prairie would take a close 4-3 win in the opening game on Sunday and the host Blades were hopeful to punch their ticket to the final as well.
Red Deer would open the scoring in the first and despite the teams trading penalties in the first period, neither team was able to capitalize on the power play. No goals could be found in the first 10 minutes of the second until Red Deer would extend their lead to 2-0 and that would hold heading into the final frame. The third period saw a Picture Butte power play, but the team was unable to find the back of the net and with just one minute to go, Red Deer would put the game away with their third goal of the game. The Blades would fire 22 shots on the Red Deer netminder, but she held strong en route to a shutout. Campmans got the final start of the tournament and the netminder made 22 saves on 25 shots.
In the final, Grande Prairie would shut out Red Deer 4-0 and claim the U13 Female A banner for 2022.
For the Blades, Quinn led the way with nine points (eight goals one assist), Welby had seven points (two goals and five assists), No Runner had five points (five assists), Gellrich and Constant had four points each (both with two goals and two assists), Groenenboom had three points (three assists), Stroeve had three points (one goal and two assists), Trotter also had three assists (three assists), Howg had two points (one goal and one assist), Serfas had one goal, and Madsen and Van Diemen each had one assist. Campmans got all five starts in the tournament and saw 127 shots, a goals-against average of 2.80 and a save percentage of 0.89.