December 31, 2012 | News Release
By Scott Cruickshank, Calgary Herald
This barely rates a headline, but here goes.
The Edmonton Thunder has advanced to the girls’ gold-medal game at the Mac’s Midget AAA Hockey Tournament.
Hardly a surprise.
For the Thunder, this marks its third straight appearance in the championship tilt — and its fourth in the past five years.
“It’s pretty cool,” Edmonton captain Mikaeli Cavell (Quantum Speed client) said minutes after the Thunder’s 1-0 win over the Westman Wildcats in Monday’s semifinal at the Max Bell Centre. “It’s kind of becoming a tradition. The older girls teach the younger ones. When I was a young player, the older ones taught me about the battle it’s going to take, the heart, the effort. So now that I’m in my third year, I’m trying to pass it on, so we kind of grow up to be champions.
“We teach everyone what it takes to win.”
In Tuesday’s championship at the Saddledome, the Thunder meets the Saskatoon Stars, who dropped the Prince Albert A&W Bears 5-2 in the other semifinal.
The Thunder lineup includes 10 first-year players, all of whom are thrilled about the upcoming experience. Even the vets are pumped.
“It’s really exciting, obviously, to play in an NHL rink,” said Cavell. “So we’re going to absorb it all and make sure we enjoy every moment of it — to really live in the moment.”
Good advice. For not the first time.
Because for Cavell — and two of her Edmonton teammates, Cassandra Russell and Sydney Thomlison — this caps a stellar three-year run in Calgary.
Three trips to the Mac’s tourney, three trips to the gold-medal showdown.
But no victory laps yet. Only silver medals so far.
“It really comes down to heart,” said Cavell. “To get to the final, it’s going to take a great team. No matter who you’re facing, it’s going to be a strong opponent. It’s going to come down to who wants it more in the end, who’s going to take the battle to heart.”
Monday’s display showed that the Thunder can make a lot out of a little.
Getting a goal from Elizabeth Salyn (Quantum Speed client) at 7:08 of the first period — spinning, she niftily placed a shot in the top corner — the team had no problem making it stick.
It’s worth noting that Edmonton, 3-0-2 in the tourney, has permitted only five goals.
“I thought, ‘You know what? We’ve got one. If we can hold on to that, play some really good defence, then one goal is more than enough,’ “ said Thunder coach Cassea Schols. “We played one of the best games we’ve played all year — a full 60-minute game, right from the start to the finish. They battled hard. They did everything that we asked them to.
“It didn’t matter if it was 1-0 — or 2-0 or 3-0 — as long as we got the win.”
Which gives the Edmontonians another stab at gold.
“We’ve been really lucky that we’ve had a team that’s driven to win,” said Schols. “That’s what it really takes to get to those finals, to have what I like to call that killer instinct for that puck, to make sure that the puck is always ours. If we’ve got the puck, no one else can have it, right?”