Tillsonburg DeGroote-Hill Chevrolet-Buick-GMC Ltd U16 Twisters played one of their best games of the season Saturday, March 26 to take down St. Marys in the Western Region Ringette Regional finals.
St. Marys, who won the Regional opener 4-2 in London on Thursday, has been a tough opponent in recent years, edging the Twisters in league, tournaments and playoffs.
"We haven't beat St. Marys in a couple years, that's for sure," said DeGroote-Hill coach Bob Becht. "They've got a pretty good goalie."
St. Marys 4,
Tillsonburg scored first Thursday, but St. Marys went ahead and the Twisters couldn't catch them.
Twisters scoring: 1. Katie Becht (Olivia Moore); 2. Alyssa Parsons.
"We played them in our last regular season just prior to the Regional tournament," coach Becht recalled. "And I bet we probably had 40 shots on them and lost 5-3. I think it was one of those deals – the girls thought we couldn't beat them. And after not beating them in a couple years, I don't think too many of our parents or players thought we had a shot going into the final."
The DeGroote-Hill U16s went on to defeat Wellington North 12-3 and Elora-Fergus 7-0 to set up the St. Marys 'rematch' in Saturday's U16 Blue Division ('C') championship final.
Wellington North 3
Twisters scoring: 1. Sierra Nutley (Katie Becht, Emma Dew); 2. Olivia Moore (Shauna Davis); 3. Olivia Moore (Katie Becht); 4. Lauren Robbins (Hannah Bosma); 5. Katie Becht (Kaitlyn Gee); 6. Katie Becht (Stephanie Parker); 7. Shauna Davis; 8. Hannah Bosma (Olivia Moore, Shauna Davis); 9. Kaitlyn Gee; 10. Olivia Moore (Justine Lemaich); 11. Katie Becht (Shauna Davis); 12. Katie Becht (Olivia Moore).
Elora Fergus 0
Twisters scoring: 1. Lauren Robbins (Hannah Bosma); 2. Katie Becht (Lauren Robbins); 3. Katie Becht (Lauren Robbins); 4. Kaitlyn Gee (Hannah Bosma, Sierra Nutley); 5. Sierra Nutley (Emma Dew); 6. Katie Becht (Sierra Nutley); 7. Katie Becht (Kaitlyn Gee)
Shutout: Mackenzie Lindie.
Coach Bob Becht and assistant coach Jody Nutley hoped to 'change things up' in the final.
"We weren't going to beat (St. Marys) head-to-head," said Becht. "So we put a player in front of the net – screened the goalie – and we shut down their two scorers.
"It was a gold medal game, so our girls knew they already had silver. So we went in there thinking, 'you know what, we've got silver, we've got nothing to lose.' So we came up with a couple different strategies, and the girls nailed it. Every girl. I've never seen our girls play that good... that was as good as I thought our girls could play.
"We had put some stuff in earlier in the year and they just didn't buy into it. But because we knew we weren't going to beat them the way we were playing, and we had nothing to lose, they all decided to try what we talked about. To the girl, we almost played a perfect game against them, that's how good we played."
St. Marys 1
Twisters scoring: 1. Sierra Nutley (Katie Becht); 2. Hannah Bosma (Emma Dew, Stephanie Parker); 3. Emma Dew (Katie Becht)
"Our girls played the best game they had played all year... everyone," coach Becht summed up. "We didn't have one girl who didn't play her best game, and it just happened to be in the finals. Our bench staff couldn't be more proud of each and every girl on the team. Congratulations girls."
Although it ended on a high note, Becht admitted the regular season was a struggle at times... a struggle to get them to play the way he thought they could play.
"I thought we'd be a top team, but we ended up third from the bottom. So in that final game, that was the team I thought we had."
A ringette coach of 15-plus years, Becht said he will be retiring from the sport.
"I'm going out on top," he laughed. "I'm hanging them up after this year. It's a good way to go out."