Cowichan T-Birds refocus to finish at field hockey provincials

One shootout loss makes big difference for Cowichan

The Cowichan Secondary School Thunderbirds played to a fifth-place finish at the provincial AAA field hockey championships in Burnaby last weekend, suffering just one loss — in a shootout — along the way.

“Provincials didn’t end the way the girls had hoped or deserved,” T-Birds coach Perri Espeseth said. “However, they showed great courage and ended on a positive note to give them a fifth-place finish in the province.”

Like all teams at the tournament, the T-Birds had to go back and forth from water-based and rubber surfaces, something some squads did better with than others.

“This tournament was the battle of adaptability as each team had to jump from different playing surfaces hoping to catch the lucky bounces,” Espeseth related. “At times successfully capitalizing, and at others suffering.”

The T-Birds got off to a great start last Wednesday with decisive wins over Port Moody and Sardis, setting them up for a showdown with South Delta on Thursday that would decide first place in the pool.

“We were lucky to play that game on water,” Espeseth said, “hoping that the familiar surface would benefit us, and speed up and increase the level of play.”

South Delta came out strong and put Cowichan under pressure, but the T-Birds held a 2-0 lead at halftime. Just 10 minutes into the second half, however, South Delta had knotted the score at 2-2. Cowichan captain Jenna Goodman found the net on a penalty corner to give the T-Birds the win and first place in the pool.

That set up a quarter-final showdown against the Kelowna Owls, a team Cowichan seems to meet in the provincial playoffs every year. Playing on rubber, the T-Birds held the majority of possession and generated penalty corner after penalty corner, but couldn’t beat the Kelowna goalie. Scoreless through regulation, the game went to a shootout, and despite a great performance by their own goalie, Casey Tucker, the T-Birds still couldn’t solve the Owls’ keeper and were knocked out of the top four.

“The best we could do would be fifth,” Espeseth said. “So our goal had now shifted.”

The T-Birds faced familiar foes from Oak Bay on Friday morning in the match to decide who would fifth-place match. Deadlocked again after regulation, this time 1-1, the teams headed for another shootout.

“This time we found the back of the net and Casey did an excellent job controlling the shooters and directing them where she wanted them to go,” Espeseth reported. “Anya Hermant sealed the deal with the game winner in sudden death, and we would be playing for fifth that afternoon.”

The T-Birds returned to their dominant form and defeated Kitsilano 4-1 in their last game of the tournament.

“It is unfortunate that losing one game can change your fate, but that is the reality of playoffs in any sport,” Espeseth commented. “The character that this team showed in their ability to bounce back and play some outstanding hockey after a devastating loss was very uplifting and rewarding.”

Provincials marked the last games for team captains Goodman and Chloe Langkammer, and for fellow Grade 12s Hermant, Sage Nowzek, Mady Styba and Ava Smith.


Cow High Grade 12 player Anya Hermant in action against Port Moody at AAA provincials. (Heather Goodman photo)

Cow High Grade 12 player Ava Smith in action against South Delta at AAA provincials. (Heather Goodman photo)

Cow High Grade 12 player Chloe Langkammer in action against Sardis at AAA provincials. (Heather Goodman photo)

Cow High Grade 12 player Jenna Goodman in action against South Delta at AAA provincials. (Heather Goodman photo)

Cow High Grade 12 player Madi Styba in action against Sardis at AAA provincials. (Heather Goodman photo)

Cow High Grade 12 player Sage Nowzek in action against Port Moody at AAA provincials. (Heather Goodman photo)

Just Posted

Sarah Simpson Column: The good deed that blew up in my face

Why I’ll be ordering take-our delivery pizza from now on

Chloe Storie-Soth’s rugby dilemma

Shawnigan student has to choose between elite teams

Cowichan United ends scoring drought

Collins and Pugh each score two in 4-0 win

T.W. Paterson column: Is Christmas shopping déjà vu for local merchants?

For all the munchies, the biggest selection was to be had at Cowichan Merchants, Ltd.

New water storage reservoir to be built in Crofton

Project will see an increase in the area’s water security

VIDEO: These are the top toys this Christmas, B.C. toy experts say

Consider the play value of a game, staff at Toy Traders say

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Most Read