The TORL Force proved once again they’re a team to be reckoned with on the weekend in Kelowna.
A 2-1 best-of-three series victory over the Lower Mainland Thunder not only earned Thompson Okanagan Ringette League U16AA team a provincial gold medal, but also a trip (as Team BC) to the Canadian championship tournament in London, Ont. April 3-9.
A 9-4 victory in the third and deciding game on Sunday at the CNC clinched the B.C. title, as the Force bounced back from a 5-4 overtime loss on Saturday. TORL had won the first game of the series 5-3, led by Emily Elsom of Kelowna and her hat trick performance.
The line of Emma Carter (Vernon), Kayt Meraw (Lake County) and Alyssa Racine (Vernon) set the pace for the Force offence by scoring seven of the team’s nine goals. Meraw scored twice and assisted on a pair of goals, while Racine tallied twice and added an assist. Carter pitched in with two goals.
Courtenay Bacon (Salmon Arm) and Brooklyn Keller (Kelowna) rounded out the TORL scoring, while other assists came from Hailey McRae (Kelowna), Elsom and Madi Fox, who along with Aly Carter, not only contributed to the Force’s vaunted offence, but was particularly effective in snuffing out any attack the Coastal girls could muster.
Georgia Gregory of Kelowna, the Force’s goalkeeper, made several quality and timely saves to keep the game out of reach for the visitors.
Warren Carter, head coach of the Force, who had predicted a dominating win by his team prior to the final encounter, said the provincial series win was a well-deserved reward for a group dedicated to preparation throughout the season.
“Getting to nationals was our aim all season long,” said Carter. “It will be one heck of an experience for these 14 athletes. We know several of the teams we’ll face . . . and they’re very strong. But we should be in the hunt to compete (for a medal), and we’re really looking forward to the challenge.”
The trip East adds to the Air Miles-collection year. The Force travelled to Calgary twice, while all but one of the players made the journey to Sweden and Finland during the Christmas holidays.