The Cambridge Turbos turned up the heat on National Ringette League Quebec rival Rive Sud Revolution Saturday afternoon in Tillsonburg.
Playing with a short bench, the Turbos started clicking in the second half. Leading 2-1 after two periods, Cambridge rolled to a 9-3 victory led by Taylor Campbell's hat trick and two assists.
"We always have a short bench," said Tillsonburg's Taylor Campbell, in her second year at Mohawk College, noting the Turbos have a smaller roster.
"It's just a matter of who can come. We just never know who will be coming."
Campbell, who prefers playing forward (wing), is also the team's third centre. The Turbos often use two centres, which means if both centres are playing, she can slot into a forward position.
"We have a new coach this year... he likes me playing centre."
Against Rive Sud, Campbell was on a line with Sheri Adams (No. 16) and part-time player Samantha McCullough (No. 23).
In the first half, Campbell said she wasn't connecting with Adams - and both were feeling a bit frustrated.
"Timing, passing, we just were not connecting whatsoever. But it's good because Sheri and I are normally very close and we talk it out. At half time Sheri and I sat down and discussed things we could do better... and we were able to connect. We were attacking better and creating so many chances, cycling, one-timers..."
Campbell's 'hometown' crowd had a lot to cheer for Saturday. The 22-year-old Campbell started her ringette career with Tillsonburg, and the Twisters - and several former Twisters - were enthusiastic in their support.
"It's awesome, the show that we get in Tillsonburg compared to everywhere else that hosts games. So it's nice to see. It's good to have a good turnout."
After Saturday's game, several players sat down in the Marwood Lounge to sign autographs, and the fans lined up. When more Turbos arrived to sign autographs, including Campbell, the lines re-formed. And when another player or two showed up, the lines re-re-formed again. The kids - and some adults - seemed determined to get EVERY player's autograph on their programs, photos, sticks and jerseys.
Although the Turbos do not have any scorers in the league's Top 15, they do have a balanced offence this year. Paige Nosal leads the team with 52 points after Saturday's game (19th overall), closely followed by Jennifer Gaudet and Campbell with 50, Adams with 49, and Sydney Nosal with 47.
"I think we're all super close right now," said Campbell. "When Jenn comes, she racks up the points. Jenn is part-time as well - she commits when she can, comes to all the practices, but she can't make all the games."
Saturday's two points against Rive Sud were huge for the Turbos as the NRL regular season heads into the home stretch. Atlantic Attack leads the Eastern Conference with 38 points (18-4-2) with Cambridge and Ottawa just behind at 36 points (17-3-2) and 34 points (16-3-2).
"As a team we're doing well, we're fighting to clinch the top spot to get a bye to Nationals (in Alberta). So the next two games are very crucial," said Campbell, noting one of them is against Ottawa.
"Hopefully we get a bye, but if we don't, then we do playoffs."