Cowichan Thunderbirds win Ferreira Memorial Tournament

The Thunderbirds beat the Frances Kelsey Breakers in the final of the John Ferreira Memorial Tournament.

The host Cowichan Secondary Thunderbirds bounced back from a loss to the Frances Kelsey Breakers in round robin play to beat the same team in the final of the John Ferreira Memorial Tournament at the Cowichan Sportsplex last weekend.

The Breakers scored in the last five minutes to edge the defending provincial AAA champion T-Birds 1-0 in the round robin, and the Cowichan players resolved to turn the tables when they met again in the final.

“After falling one point short to Frances Kelsey after the pool play standings, we were determined to win in the final,” Cowichan coach Perri Espeseth said. “The girls had a great game, and it was really beautiful hockey to watch from both teams.”

Sara Goodman scored the only goal of the final.

“We scored in the first half and were able to hold them off for the remainder of the game,” Espeseth recounted. “However Kelsey wasn’t without their chances, and they always push up some of their skilled players to create attack which is always a threat.”

The win in the Ferreira came on the heels of the team achieving the same result in the Friendship Cup tournament at Shawnigan Lake School on Sept. 17.

“It is really exciting as a coach to see what you have been practicing all week being implemented on the turf,” Espeseth said. “You can’t ask for anything more. They are focused and hardworking and it is paying off.”

Shawnigan finished third in the Ferreira standings, followed by South Delta in fourth and Oak Bay in fifth place.

“It was a tough tournament,” Espeseth said. “There was never an easy game.”

In addition to Goodman, the T-Birds got strong leadership from seniors Emma Dame and Kyla Birch, and rookie Chloe Langkammer, while Jenna Berard had an excellent tournament at outside midfield.

“We have been working around some injuries, and the girls have been adaptable and keen to try new positions that they might not normally play in,” Espeseth said.

The T-Birds will head to Victoria for the gruelling Bridgman Cup tournament this weekend.

“It will be a challenging weekend, playing six games in three days, and coming up against some of the toughest teams in the province,” Espeseth said.