It was a day of elation and heartbreak for the our U18 BC teams in their semi-final matches today at the 2018 National Championships. Two of our four BC teams in the playoff round will move on to contend for a gold medal tomorrow, while the other two will play for bronze.
Gold Medal Guaranteed for the BC Girls as the Stags and Rams Face Off for Gold
It was a thrilling day for our BC Girls teams, starting with a head to head BC semi-final between the Stags and the Lions.
The Stags, BC’s Vancouver Island team, came out hard and got on the board in the first 10 minutes. The Lions, who remained undefeated through the round robin, answered back shortly after on a shortcorner goal by Kaiden Stanley.
“We just had to keep our intensity up and work as a team,” explained first year Stag, Libby Hogg. “Keep it simple and play our game.”
The Lions took the lead in the second half, with a goal by Alyssa Brooks, but the Stags’ youngsters pulled through with back to back goals from first year athletes Janet Dawson and Libby Hogg. After taking the lead with 15 minutes remaining, the Stags held on to win 3-2 and book their ticket to the gold medal game.
“It feels pretty amazing actually,” said Hogg, on scoring the winning goal. “I’m speechless, I don’t even know what to say. Our whole team did a really good job, it feels awesome.”
The following semi-final featured a re-match of last year’s gold medal game, with the BC Rams facing Ontario West. After a scoreless first half, the Rams turned up the intensity and really pushed hard through the second half of the game. Despite their efforts, they were unable to capitalize on their chances, which led them to a shootout.
Alissa Wong and Sanehpreet Basra both capitalized on their shootout attempts, while a couple of huge saves by Rams goalkeeper Aerin Park put the game in Erin Dawson’s hands. Dawson made no mistake, beating the Ontario goaltender and giving her team the chance to play for gold tomorrow.
“When I go into a shootout, I just try to forget about everything that’s happened in the game,” explained Aerin Park. “The first thing that I talk to myself about is that I just make sure to move my feet constantly and I’m always ready.”
With the win over Ontario, the Rams guaranteed a gold medal for BC, as they will face the BC Stags in the final tomorrow. The game will take place at 3:15 PM EST.
The BC Girls have a chance for a full medal sweep, as the BC Lions will play Ontario West in the bronze medal game tomorrow at 9:45 AM EST.
BC Boys Rams Unable to Solve Their Rivals from Ontario
The BC Boys Rams had a tough shootout loss to Ontario Central in their semi-final game. Despite dominating the play for much of the game, the Rams were unable to finish, leaving them in a position to compete for bronze tomorrow at 11:30 AM EST.
“It was definitely heartbreaking, playing so well and dominating the game,” said BC Rams midfielder, Rowan Childs. “But at the same time, scoring goals is part of the game, that’s something you really can’t take for granted, the winner of the game is the one who scores the most goals and we didn’t end up doing that.”
After going up 1-0 on a penalty stroke goal by Brendan Guraliuk, the Ontario team answered back with a penalty stroke goal of their own, to tie the game at 1. Despite their offensive efforts, BC was unable to regain the lead, forcing the game into a shootout.
When the first three shooters failed to score, Ontario got on the board first, beating Rams goaltender Ethan McTavish. Roop Dhillon answered back with a goal for the Rams, but Ontario kept coming and ended up getting the better of the BC team with a 2-1 shootout victory.
The BC Rams will still have a chance for a podium finish, as they face Alberta in the bronze medal game tomorrow.
“We didn’t achieve our goal of getting gold, but it’s still a big game, we’re still playing for a medal at the National Championships,” stated Childs. “It is going to be tough getting over that game, but we need to get over the hurdle and really prepare ourselves for that bronze medal game, it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get gold but we can still end on a high note.”
The BC Boys Lions went 1-1 in their consolation matches today, with a 4-3 win over USA and a 1-0 loss to Ontario East.
With four BC teams competing for medals tomorrow, you won’t want to miss any of the action! Follow @fieldhockeybc on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates throughout the day, and follow along for live scores at https://fhc.altiusrt.com/.