The Tillsonburg Bill's Pizza U10 Twisters team travelled to Newmarket this past weekend to participate in the 7th Annual Newmarket Ignite the Ice Ringette Tournament.
Undefeated in the tournament, the girls were very proud to bring the gold medals back to Tillsonburg.
Ignite the Ice started with a game against hometown Newmarket Rays. The girls were able to get the blood pumping in their legs after the long drive and finished with a 9-5 victory. Next the girls faced a good team from Sudbury and were able to move to 2-0 with a 14-7 victory. The third game against another team the Twisters have never played before from Valley East, a suburb of Sudbury, was very tight with some fantastic goaltending from both sides. Again the Twisters came away with a victory, 5-3.
With a 3-0 record, Bill's Pizza clinched first place which gave them 'home ice' advantage for the gold medal game vs. Valley East.
Valley East came out very strong and scored just 13 seconds into the championship game. The Twisters answered back two-and-a-half minutes later. The rest of the game saw each team trading goals. The Twisters threw "everything plus the kitchen sink at the Valley East goalie" and she was stopping almost everything, noted Bill's Pizza coach Dan Behman.
The Twisters tied it up with 7:26 left in the game and both teams traded some terrific chances. With 48 seconds left in the game, the Twisters had a free pass in the Valley East end and after a quick flurry in front of the net, the ring went over the line with 39 seconds left to give Tillsonburg a 7-6 lead.
"After a final surge from Valley East the buzzer went to end the game and the Tillsonburg fans went crazy!" said Behman.
The Ignite the Ice championship one-upped the silver medals they won at the their home tournament, TwisterFest, in January.
"They played good, skated hart, tried hard," said Behman. "They were making some good passes."
Dorchester defeated Tillsonburg 8-5 in the TwisterFest opener, and beat the Twisters again 7-2 in the final.
"They (Dorchester) are a tough team. They've got a lot of good players and as soon as we got the ring they were on us, checking us."
In their two other TwisterFest games against London and Cambridge, both wins for the Bill's Pizza U10s, Behman said they were passing and skating well. Tillsonburg advanced to the TwisterFest final with an 11-1 win over London.
"It was a must-win game, we had to win, so we wanted to make sure the girls played well. We got to the point at the end of the game where we said 'pass three times' before you shoot."
With an eye on Regionals in the spring, Behman said the U10s would continue working on their skating with a power skating session.
"Watching the NRL game – we sat in the stands and watched it as a team – you see how important skating is in ringette. Those girls are phenomenal skaters. So that's going to be a big focus making sure we get good skating."
He also wanted to continue focusing on skills.
"If we can't skate, and we can't pass and we can't stab the ring, then there's no point in drawing up plays... so we've got to get the skills down. We are getting into that kind of stuff, more towards coming up with plays, starting to get more advanced."