No more SOSSA heartbreak for Raiders
The Holy Cross Raiders girls hockey team ended two years of Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association heartbreak by blanking the Grimsby Eagles 2-0 in the SOSSA final Tuesday in Fonthill.
“It feels amazing because the last two years we have just missed out,” said Holy Cross goaltender Kaydra Corney, who recorded shutouts in both the SOSSA semifinal and final. “It has been tough but if feels good to move forward.”
The Raiders were eliminated from the SOSSA playdowns last year after a seven-round shootout in the final and two years ago they lost 2-1 in a SOSSA qualifier.
Corney feels teamwork got the Raiders over the hump this season.
“We work as a team and we don’t have to have all the skill in the world but we work together and we work hard,” she said.
The midget AA player with the Niagara Rapids has high school hockey near and dear to her heart.
“It’s pretty important,” the Grade 11 student said. “It helps me grow as a hockey player and it gives me some extra practice.”
Holy Cross head Mike Accursi loves what Corney brings to the crease.
“She is very intense and she’s really patient with the shooters,” he said. “It is hard to pick spots because she is patient and reacts to the puck.
“She played awesome today.”
Holy Cross had to play awesome to beat Grimsby Tuesday.
“We knew they were a really good team, we had a really good season and it is what you would expect from a SOSSA final,” Accursi said. “It was tight with good checking and good goaltending. It was exciting.”
At the beginning of the season, Accursi realized he had a team capable of qualifying for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations’ girls A/AA hockey championships March 24-26 in Stratford.
“We knew we had a really good team this year with the whole team returning,” he said. “We competed well and came up a little short last year in SOSSA. We were expecting some big things this year.”
Holy Cross has now recorded four straight shutouts on its way to an OFSAA berth.
“We are strong defensively and we have two very good goalies,” Accursi said. “You win championships from the defence out and that’s how we play. We have excellent defence and we get timely scoring from our forwards.”
Holy Cross advanced to the SOSSA final with a 1-0 victory over the E.L. Crossley Cyclone. Alicia Juras scored the goal and Corney recorded the shutout.
Member of the Niagara Catholic Athletic Association (Zone 2) and SOSSA championship team coached by Accursi, Erin Farkas and Dave Thomson, were Isabella Antonucci, Michela Belchior, Alexi Buis, Corney, Emma Currie, Olivia Dion, Elise Fenwick, Madison Giampa, Alicia Juras, Isabella Koren, Katja Murray, Abbey Penner, Kate Petrovsky, Marisa Valla and Lauren Viviers.
Holy Cross topped the NCAA regular season standings with a 5-1-1 record. The Raiders then defeated Saint Paul 6-0 in the zone semifinals and Lakeshore Catholic 7-0 in the zone final.
Grimsby had a number of chances to score in the SOSSA final but Korney was up to the challenge. The Eagles best chance came when Grace Nelles hit the cross bar with 2:27 left in the game.
“It was a hard-fought game. They played hard and really wanted it but it wasn’t our day,” Grimsby head coach Leanne Travis said.
The season-ending loss didn’t detract from a fine season by the Eagles.
“They played with a lot of heart, they all want to play, they are all happy to play and it is their favourite sport,” she said.
Getting to play at SOSSA was a big deal for a lot of the Eagles.
“A lot of the girls are out of the playoffs with their rep teams so it was great for them to have this opportunity,” Travis said.
The Eagles will be looking to reload rather than rebuild next season.
“We have several graduates and there will be lots of girls leaving but I think we will still have a strong team,” she said.
Zone 4 champion Grimsby advanced to the SOSSA final with a 5-3 victory over Dundas Valley. Nelles and Rhianna Davis each scored twice for Grimsby and Mya Carmody also scored. Netting goals for Dundas Valley were Ava Beck, Riley Vandenheuvel and Emily Cox,
Members of the Zone 4 championship Grimsby team, coached by Lloyd Bosnia, Chris Hruska, Roger Piotrowski and Travis, are Abigail Baillargeon, Lauren Beaulieu, Carmody, Sarah-Jean Craig, Davis, Grace Dockray, Lola Dysart, Madeleine Estabrooks, Tatum Given, Megan Gravelle, Quincy Hamilton, Alexandra Korakis, Rachel McIntyre, Aries Mustoe, Nelles, Samantha Prodeus, Abby Russo, Kirsten Ryan, Ashley Schneider, Victoria Scott and Sarah Travis.
Grimsby went 3-1-1 in Zone 4 Niagara High School Athletic Association regular season play and then defeated Eden 3-0 in the zone A/AA final.
Raiders 2 Eagles 0
Mick and Angelo’s/Johnny Rocco’s/Cracker Jack’s Player of the Game: Holy Cross defenceman Marissa Villa with a strong game.
For the Holy Cross Raiders: Two goals by Abbey Penner; shutout by Kaydra Korney.
For the Grimsby Eagles: No scoring.
Game stats: Shots on goal: by Grimsby on Korney 7-2-8=17; by Holy Cross on Aries Mustoe 6-7-4=17. Penalty minutes: Holy Cross 0, Grimsby 6. Power plays: Holy Cross 1-3, Grimsby 0-0.