With numerous injuries, perhaps an unscheduled pause in the season is what the Vernon-based Thompson-Okanagan Lakers AAA U18 female hockey team needs.
The Lakers sit at the top of the standings in the BC Hockey Female U18 AAA exhibition series with six wins, three losses and a draw. Their last set of games before the pause, Nov. 13-15 in Vernon, saw the Lakers skate to a win, loss and tie against the Northern Capitals of Williams Lake with only 10-to-12 skaters per team due to injuries.
“Our program has been fortunate to have competed 10 times, which is the most of any BC Hockey team,” said Lakers coach Dwight Lee. “That includes all of the leagues for male and female. With the recent update regarding sporting events, we are paused from competition indefinitely.”
Against the Northern Capitals at Kal Tire Place, the visitors took the opening game 2-1, and the two teams played to a 2-2 tie in Game 2. In the final game, on a Sunday, Jessica Engelbrecht scored twice and Sarah Van Hoek buried the game-winner as the Lakers downed the Capitals 3-1. Chelsea West got the win in net.
Engelbrecht enters the competition pause with a five-game goal-scoring streak. She leads the league in goals scored with eight.
The two teams met the previous weekend in Williams Lake. The Caps took the opener 4-1, but the Lakers rebounded for a 4-3 win in support of goaltender Cheree Peters. Karington Mollin had a hat trick for Thompson-Okanagan, Engelbrecht added the other goal.
Prior to heading north, the Lakers took on the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s Female U18 team for a doubleheader in Penticton.
The academy won the opener 4-1 before the Lakers rebounded for a 3-2 win. Dawson Benson, Tyra Rocha and Natasha Barsby, with the game-winner, scored for the Lakers. West picked up the win in goal.
Forward Holly Magnus, 14, a Grade 9 student at Vernon Secondary School, said the pause “sucks.”
“We were starting to mold as a team, we were playing well so it’s a bit disappointing,” said Magnus. “But, we’re still practising, which is good, and we do have a lot of injuries so we can use the time to regroup.”
Magnus hopes the break isn’t too long.
“It would be good to get going again, especially for our third-year players who are looking to film games so they can send them out to colleges,” she said.