CEC beats CP Allen in overtime to clinch first girls' provincial hockey banner
TRURO – April MacKay can barely remember how it happened.
All she knows now is there’s a gold medal hanging around her neck after scoring the winning goal in overtime to give the Cobequid Cougars a 1-0 win over the C.P. Allen Cheetahs for the school’s first ever provincial girls’ hockey banner Sunday at Westville Miners Sports Centre.
“I don’t even know. It’s all a blur,” MacKay said with a smile. “It feels really good. I was surprised it went in.”
The puck went past the C.P. Allen netminder just 3:02 into the extra frame when MacKay got the puck in front from captain Tiffany MacDonald and backhanded her own rebound into the mesh. The goal set off an eruption on the Cougars bench and players poured over the boards to jump into a dog pile at the other end of the rink.
Ashley Morrell backstopped the Cougars with a shutout.
The victory avenged a 3-2 loss to the Cheetahs Saturday to finish the round robin, Cobequid’s only loss of the event.
It was also the third contest where late-game heroics earned Cobequid a victory as the Cougars twice erased 2-1 deficits in the third period.
“Just our motivation and determination,” MacDonald said when asked her team’s keys to victory. “There is so much on the team and if we bring it to the ice every game we can win any game.”
The provincial title also comes in just the team’s second season of operation, something MacDonald thinks speaks volumes about women’s hockey in Colchester County and her school.
“I think it proves we had the skill we just needed the opportunity,” she said. “So I’m really glad we had the coaches step up last year and offer to coach the team.
“It just proves that we definitely should have had a program in the earlier years. But it’s history made I guess and it feels good.”
Although posting a strong inaugural season, the Cougars were finished early after falling in a provincial qualifier. But even then, coach Shaun Munroe knew the group was on the cusp of something special.
“For 15 to 17 girls to show up for 5:30 in the morning in the middle of winter, you could tell they wanted to play and they were just so dedicated,” he said. “It takes a lot to have everyone to show up like that but they did.”
That’s the biggest reason why MacDonald said the Cougars went on to post a 30-3-1 overall record this season and achieve their goal of nabbing a provincial title.
“Our motivation got us where we are for sure,” she said. “This was our goal since the first of the year to get to the provincial championship and it’s just what we’ve been looking forward to all year. It feels awesome, it feels amazing.”
It’s also the second time in two weeks most of the team’s players have earned a medal at a provincial competition, with 12 Cougars also getting silver medals as members of the Colchester Cyclones midget team a week earlier.
The Cougars boys team was eliminated from medal contention Saturday at their tournament in Antigonish. After opening the eight-team tournament with a 4-2 victory over Lockview, the Cougars lost Friday’s late game against King’s-Edgehill.
The Cougars dropped a 3-2 decision Saturday to the Sir John A. Macdonald Flames leaving them with a 1-1-1 record.