By Darryl G. Smart
Alexis VanNetten picked a great time to turn things up a notch.
With an undefeated season on the line and rival Delhi District Secondary School Raiders pushing in the Norfolk Secondary Schools Athletic Association girls hockey championship game, the
Simcoe Composite School student imposed her will on the ice and scored four goals to lead the Simcoe Sabres to a 6-3 victory.
“She really had a great game,” Sabres coach Richard Ernst said. “Once Alexis got loose, she was hard to stop.”
Talia Shurr-Gregg and Veronica Samborski also scored for the Sabres.
Between VanNetten’s offence and Nicole Samborski’s goaltending, the Sabres got control of a game that turned out to be their toughest test of the season.
“Delhi really pushed hard,” Ernst said. “We had to battle back to get control of the puck. They really did give us a run for our money today. There were some moments where we really had to calm things down because they were on us.”
One of those moments was a 5-on-3 situation in the raiders’ favour. But again, Samborski answered the call.
Another moment came when the Raiders took a 1-0 lead thanks to coach Ernst’s daughter, Aly, who showed her game face.
“I went over to give her a fist bump at the end of the bench when she scored, but she skated right by me,” the Sabres coach said. “You knew right there that Aly and her teammates were ready for us.”
Olivia Smart and Jenna Durham also scored for the Raiders.
Aly Ernst said she and her teammates had lots to be proud of despite the loss.
“Everyone worked really hard,” Aly Ernst said. “We were all pretty tired after the game. Our coaches were pretty pumped before the game. They gave us the best speeches they’ve ever told us. They said proud they are of us and how we’ve grown as a team. We knew it would be tough. We lost but we played great.”
Now that the Sabres have completes a perfect season in Norfolk, going 6-0 in the regular season, and two victories in the playoffs, they will now go to Wilmot on March 9 and 10 for the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association A/AA girls hockey championships.
“We hope to get to the second day,” coach Ernst said. “We’ve been able to get there the last couple of years. And we’re hoping the great chemistry we have helps us get there.”