NRL Turbos defeat Fusion 10-2

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Cambridge Turbos' Taylor Campbell has been racking up points in her third National Ringette League season.

"Assists," said Campbell with a laugh.

She added one more 'helper' to her Eastern Conference leading tally during Saturday's NRL neutral site game at the Tillsonburg Kinsmen Memorial Arena against Gatineau. Her best scoring chance, a fourth-period rebound, was denied by the Fusion goalie.

"Honestly you never know with teams like this," said Campbell after a 10-2 victory. "We lost to Bourassa (5-4 on Nov. 1) in a shootout, our only loss, and they are not one of the top teams. You just never know in ringette. And Gatineau has (Chantal) St-Laurent. That was a big thing, we had to keep an eye out."

The 20-year-old former Tillsonburg Twister is currently seventh in conference scoring with 13 goals and 50 assists in 19 games. She is one of three Turbos in the Top 10 this year with linemates Jacqueline Gaudet, who leads the conference with 96 points, and centre Elyssa Jasper with 62.

"It's a lot easier this year because I'm not in school," said Campbell, who was studying therapeutic recreation at Seneca College in King City, north of Toronto and commuting to Cambridge for ringette. "It's just a year off. I still have to go back, I haven't graduated yet."

Living in Tillsonburg, she is currently working two jobs, but she has a shorter ringette commute.

"It's easier for my fitness. Easier to get in game shape, which makes me better."

It's also been a season of change for the Turbos, who are are in transition without Jennifer Gaudet on the top line this year.

"Jenn (Gaudet) is still on the roster – she's a part-time player," said Campbell, now centred by Jasper. "Jenn has a full-time teaching job right now, so she's only played a couple games. We brought another centre on our line – Elyssa – and she's a good shooter, just like Jenn. She's been an important part of our line."

Campbell's role has not changed – she's primarily a setup winger in the offensive zone and focuses on being a strong defensive forward.

"As a team we work from defence up. We really focus on our defensive roles."

"Great attitude, great team player," said Turbos assistant coach Keith Jasper, describing Campbell. "She brings a great dynamic to our team. A great work ethic... and she's great to coach."

Cambridge has a new head coach in Sharolyn Wouters, with long-time coach Glen Gaudet shifting to an assistant managerial role.

The team goal, however, has not changed. They want to avenge a 7-4 loss to Ottawa Ice in the NRL Championship last year in Regina.

"We haven't played the western teams yet, but I know Edmonton will be real strong, Calgary will be strong," said Campbell. "In the East, Ottawa, obviously, is one of our biggest rivals."

Turbos' Jesse Callander (2.71 GAA) and Meghan Pittaway (2.67 GAA) lead the conference for goals against averages.

"Meghan played for Team Canada and she was named goalie of the tournament. So she's one of the best goalies in the world – she's unreal. It's so helpful having someone like that to start in the back. She's one of the assistant captains, too. She can't wear it on her jersey, but she's very good in the change room and she knows the whole game, not just her position. That's like a lot of girls on the team, they know the game. It comes from learning from the players – you learn so much from them."

Saturday afternoon's NRL game was the second time Cambridge has played in Tillsonburg on the weekend of the Twisters' annual 'TwisterFest', Jan. 16-18.

chris.abbott@sunmedia.ca

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