After wrapping up their regular season, the EDSS girls’ hockey team headed to an elite tournament in Toronto Wednesday to see just how they stack up before the playoffs start.
Elmira District Secondary School finished the season in second place with just one point separating them from first.
“We tied our last game; if we had won, we would have been first. We were very close,” said coach John Swatridge. “This will be a good test in Toronto, we’re playing some of the best teams in the province.”
EDSS generally finishes the season in first or second, and never below fourth place. Swatridge estimates that the team is probably the most successful in the league over the nine years EDSS has been in it.
This year’s team is a bit different in that it’s younger than most; where most varsity teams have a majority of seniors, this one has more Grade 9s and 10s.
The Wang sisters, both goalies, are in Grade 9 and 10, as are a trio of capable defence players.
Swatridge also points to Amanda Schwindt, Melissa Kaleta and Lauri Reid as the “linchpins” of the defence. Up front, Steph Straus, Kailey Esbaugh, Sam Nosal and Tori Freeman are reliable goal scorers.
But Erin Zach is far and away the top scorer – not just for the Lancers but for the entire league, which she leads by more than 10 goals.
The first week of the playoffs, the bottom teams will duke it out to determine the final eight. EDSS’ second place finish means they head straight to the quarterfinals.
The girls’ hockey team has gone to CWOSSAA almost every year and made several appearances at OFSSAA, but they’ve never returned home with a medal. Swatridge doesn’t know about their chances this year, but he likes what he’s seeing from the team.
“I would say the last couple weeks, they’ve played their best hockey,” he said. “We’re hoping they continue to play like this because they’re playing better now than they did all season. If they continue like this, who knows?”