Tillsonburg Lions U10 Twisters were unbeatable in the second half of the 2012-13 ringette season.
Since January 2013, when they won their own Tillsonburg Ringette tournament, the U10s did not lose a game. Only one of those games was a tie, and that came in tournament play.
The Lions had a light month leading up to the Regional Tournament, March 22-24, where they finished the year-end tournament on top once again, beating Woolwich 5-2 in the Red Division championship final.
“We had tournaments back-to-back, Paris first, which our girls won,” said coach Steve Craig after a practice at Colin Campbell Community Arena leading up to Regionals. “Then we had Niagara Falls, a bigger tournament, which our girls won. So currently they’re three-for-three for tournaments.
“At the start of the season you play everybody from the Western Region… centres like Guelph, Kitchener, Dorchester and Chatham. From that they seed the girls into equal divisions. For the second half of the season we were seeded in a little bit lower division, but the girls have done very well in the second half.
“They’ve had a good little run in the second half. When they’re ‘on’ they can challenge the hardest of teams. There’s a lot of good teams out there, and some of them are very, very strong.”
The game plan going into Regionals, said Craig, was not going to change.
“Get them motivated for those first few shifts, very short shifts. Lots of energy, lots of tempo, lots of shots.
“The things we’ve been practicing this year – we’ve been learning the triangle… positioning, shots on goal and intensity. That formula seems to be working for them as a group.”
The U10 Lions finished the season strong in Guelph with three preliminary wins, then a 5-2 championship victory in the rematch with Woolwich.
Tillsonburg Lions 5, Woolwich 3
Claire Craig and Maxx Schnekenburger scored in the final two minutes to lift the Lions in Friday’s 11 a.m. opener.
Tillsonburg Lions scoring: 1. Kylie Barnard; 2. Lauren Court; 3. Keeva Ramer (Sydney Court); 4. Claire Craig (Lauren Court); 5. Maxx Schnekenburger (Claire Craig).
Tillsonburg Lions 5, Forest 2
Lauren Court netted a pair of first-period goals, the second being the game-winner with 20 seconds left in the first frame.
Tillsonburg Lions scoring: 1. Sydney Court (Claire Craig); 2. Lauren Court (Kylie Barnard, Maxx Schnekenburger); 3. Lauren Court (Claire Craig); 4. Claire Craig; 5. Kylie Barnard.
Tillsonburg Lions 10, London-1 5
Tillsonburg Lions scoring: 1. Maxx Schnekenburger (Sydney Court); 2. Lauren Court; 3. Lauren Court; 4. Claire Craig (Chelsea Luscher, Keeva Ramer); 5. Sydney Court (Maxx Schnekenburger); 6. Sydney Court (Keeva Ramer); 7. Lauren Court; 8. Gracyn McNinch (Claire Craig); 9. Bella Bennett (Maxx Schnekenburger); 10. Sydney Court (Aleashia Pilkey, Lauren Court).
Tillsonburg Lions 5, Woolwich 2
Sydney Court scored a hat trick for the Lions, and added an assist, for a four-point effort. Court’s second goal broke a 2-2 first-period tie, and the Lions went on to add two more unanswered goals in the final frame.
Lions’ goalie Emily Verhoeve was a force to be reckoned with throughout the tournament.
Tillsonburg Lions scoring: 1. Sydney Court (Claire Craig); 2. Lauren Court; 3. Sydney Court (Lauren Court); 4. Sydney Court (Keeva Ramer); 5. Bella Bennett (Sydney Court, Claire Craig).
“The girls played a solid tournament,” said Craig.
“The second game against Woolwich, the girls were quite pumped.
“We wanted some speed, some shots, and we wanted to see if we could get some momentum going our way. And they did it. I believe it was on the first shift we got our first goal. That was the tempo-setting moment.
“The girls were quite consistent throughout the whole tournament.”
Sunday’s final against Woolwich was played at 7 a.m.
“We were worried about it being an early, early game. Typically, our girls have had some shaky moments when we had early-early games, but they were pumped up and did an awesome job. Most of the girls went for a little run before the game, got the adrenalin going and they did great out there.
“The girls all played good – it was a very strong weekend.
“It was an incredible season,” Craig summed up. “They had the big streak of 16 undefeated (games), and four tournaments in the new year – all great tournaments. Our girls really stepped it up in tournament play. It was a great season for them. The girls’ confidence grew immensely this year, both as individuals and as a team, and that’s a very positive thing to come out of the season with.”