The girls hockey team at Delhi District Secondary School learned a valuable lesson this week about turning one’s back on a wounded opponent.
The Raiders mauled the Holy Trinity Titans in the first period of their Norfolk County semi-final showdown at Talbot Gardens on Monday, sprinting to a 5-1 lead after 15 minutes of play.
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But slowly and methodically, that cushion vanished in the second. The frame ended with Delhi hanging on to a slim 6-5 lead and Holy Trinity appearing to have all the momentum.
“The girls took their foot off the gas for a minute,” Delhi coach Alex Zurby said afterward.
Turns out Holy Trinity shot their bolt clawing back into contention. Delhi may have taken their foot off the gas but the Titans looked like they had nothing left in the tank as the Raiders woke up and stormed back with three unanswered goals in the third to make the final 9-5.
With the win Delhi improved its record on the season to five wins against two losses. Holy Trinity ends the season with two wins, five losses and something to build on from Monday’s game effort.
“We discussed that second period,” Titans coach Ian Fitzgerald said. “They battled back hard and made a game out of it. They looked really good and we were able to make a season of it.”
The Delhi offence was noteworthy for its balanced attack. Ava Zurby scored three goals for the Raiders while Aly Ernst scored twice. Chipping in singletons were Jenna Durham, Olivia Smart, Veronica Abele, and Leah Dawes.
Sophia Correira scored twice for Holy Trinity. Single goals were credited to Jenine Fescas, Jenna DeBruyn and Ella Brown.
With Delhi demonstrating its chops on offence, the focus for the remainder of the week will be on playing a tight defensive game against the SCS Sabres in the final March 3.
“We’re going to look at defensive strategies,” Zurby said. “Our rookie goalie Tara Barr – she’s doing great. We’re going to get some reps in for her. Goaltending will be the difference in the final.”
For their part, undefeated Simcoe performed as expected as they upended the winless Wolves of Waterford 9-1 in Monday’s other semi-final.
As far as Sabres coach Richard Ernst is concerned, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Ernst is going to let the Sabres do their thing this week and hope they show up at Talbot Gardens next week fit, healthy and rested for the season topper.
“It’s all about the girls being rested and free of illness,” Ernst said.
“A lot of the girls play for other teams and we hope they don’t get injured. We don’t have any practices planned. They’re busy enough as it is.”