M’CHIGEENG—The Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) Mustang girls’ hockey team struggled against Sudbury rivals the Bishop Carter Gators this season but pulled through in the best two out of three final series to win the B championship on home ice Thursday.
They were down two goals early in the game but fought back to tie the game. At the end of three regulation periods the score was tied 2-2. Harmony Fox scored the winning goal with four minutes remaining in first overtime to clinch the final series and the first championship ever for the MSS Mustang girls.
Coach Mike Meeker said, “Boy, that was a crazy game. Even though we’ve had good teams over the years we’ve never won a championship. We had some exceptional teams really, but we were in Division 1. The first year I coached we lost every game until the very last one.”
“I’m really proud of these girls,” he continued. “It’s the kind of team that doesn’t have any stars. They fought and scratched. They had to fight for all of their wins. Every game different girls stepped up. Except for three girls we’ve got pretty much the whole team coming back next year. The girls are already talking about the championship next year. I told them to enjoy this one. Next year’s a long way away.”
This was Lyric Peltier’s final season with the Mustangs. “It’s been a pretty unbelievable four years,” she said. “We usually lose against Bishop Carter but this time we pulled through.” Lyric keeps the team motivated. “I’m the mom of the team,” she laughed. “I tell them what to do. It’s usually me yelling on the bench. But we’re all pretty easy going. We don’t get mad at each other.”
Alayna Cranston is also a fourth year player. “This is the third year we’ve battled against Bishop Carter in the finals,” she said. “It’s pretty amazing to go out with a bang.”
Sophie Bondi was outstanding in goal. “I was very nervous and very excited at the same time,” she said. “It was an awesome feeling.”
“This is the first year we’ve ever had two really good goalies,” Coach Meeker said. “The other goalie, Gabby (Gabriela Corbiere), was sick tonight. She’d never played goalie in her life until this year. She’s been very solid from the very first practice.”
Third year player Faith Taylor will be back for one final season next year. She plays for MSS and the Lady Wolves out of Sudbury. “Overall it’s been a really good season,” she said. “Our team got along really well, especially near the end. I’m really glad we had some great girls this year.”
Game 1 was played Tuesday in Sudbury. Coach Meeker said, “They did great yesterday (February 27). It was a really close game but they won, 2-1. It was the first game that Bishop Carter lost all year. They beat us twice in the regular season.”
“They (Bishop Carter) had their whole team there,” Mr. Meeker continued. “Our girls just shut them down. They did a great job of pushing them to the outside and staying on top of them. It was a great game to watch. They hung in until the end and won. They were very excited. But talk about pressure. It went right down to the final seconds. They had a penalty and were short-handed that last two minutes but they stuck with it. I told them before the first game that I didn’t care if they won this game or not. They were second in the league, and were in the finals now. They’ve really done well. They had two close games during the year” he said.
“The girls always worked toward improvement but these were the playoffs. You never know what’s going to happen. They played their best hockey. That’s the best you can hope for. The effort was there and they played well together. I’m so proud of them.”