Okanagan ringette squad scratches out win to move on

Okanagan ringette squad scratches out win to move on

Article by Joe Fries, Photo Credit: Kelly Dickinson

Author: BC Winter Games/Sunday, February 28, 2016/Categories: 2016 BC Winter Games, Ringette

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Photo: Zone 3's Kaelyn Hamanishi from West Kelowna finds an opening on Zone 8's netminder Laura Oldring from Quesnel.

The two squads were thrown together to fill holes in the eight-team tournament schedule left vacant when Zone 6 (Island-Central Coast) and Zone 1 (Kootenays) were unable to round up enough players.

Kaelyn Hamanishi, 14, scored three times for Zone 2B, which hung on for the victory, despite Zone 4B scoring twice within the last five minutes and pulling its goalie for an extra attacker with 35 seconds left.

“We would go ahead, then they would come back, then we would pull ahead, so it was close,” said Hamanishi, who lives in West Kelowna.

Salmon Arm, Vernon and West Kelowna were also represented on the Zone 2B team, which went 2-2 in the Games, the first ever for Hamanishi.

“I had a lot of fun just hanging out with the team and meeting new friends and playing,” she said.

Assistant coach Toni Pickrell was pleased her players bonded quickly, since she had just six ice times – one of them a game and the other five practices – to get her side in game shape.

“It’s a very short program,” she said.

“Trying to get kids together from all over the Okanagan… was kind of tough because they all play on other teams.”

The short, high-pressure Games also proved difficult for Zone 8 (Cariboo-North East), which went 0-3 through the round robin, but scored a 15-6 win over Zone 7 (Northwest) to place seventh in the other consolation game.

“We didn’t have enough time together as a team to really gel. We were still gelling when we got here,” said Will De Dreu, who paced the winners with a natural hat trick in the first half.

“I went bar-down twice, then the last one I dangled the goalie,” he recalled afterwards, smiling despite finishing out of the medals.

“It was fun,” De Dreu said of his first ever trip to a BC Games.

In Sunday’s bronze-medal game, Zone 3 meets Zone 5 at 8 a.m., then Zone 2 faces off against Zone 4 in the gold-medal match at 9:45 a.m.

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