Shawnigan leads Valley pack into B.C. tournament

The continuing strength of the field hockey programs in the Cowichan Valley was evident once again as Shawnigan Lake School, Cowichan Secondary and Frances Kelsey Secondary finished 1-2-3 at the Island AAA championships last weekend.

Shawnigan, in its first year at the AAA level after winning the provincial AA title in two of the last three seasons, beat Cowichan 1-0 in the tournament final to claim the Island title. Kelsey, which lost to Cowichan in the semifinals, placed third. All three teams will advance to the provincial championships in North Vancouver next week.

"It’s a real testament to what we do on the Island and what we do [in the Cowichan Valley] that we can have three teams vie for the top position," Shawnigan coach Kelly Koepp said.

Despite playing in the AAA bracket for larger schools this year, the Shawnigan players were confident they could compete with the rest of the Island, and weren’t surprised when they took the Island trophy.

"We had played Cowichan and Kelsey in previous years, so we knew we could compete," Koepp said.

It also didn’t surprise Koepp when the final between her team and Cowichan was a close battle.

"Cowichan was a very tough opponent. They play a tough, physical game, which our girls are learning to deal with," she said.

The game-winning goal came on a great individual effort by Casey Crowley late in the game. Cowichan had opportunities to score throughout the contest, but Shawnigan goaltender Leigh Campbell was up for the challenge each and every time.

Shawnigan’s depth was clearly on display throughout the tournament, as, despite winning their earlier games 8-0, 5-1 and 6-0, the team had just one game where the same player scored more than once.

"We have lots of depth in our group," Koepp said. "The starters and the players whose job it is to come off the bench all do their jobs. It makes for great team harmony on the field."

Pleased though they were to advance to the provincial championships, the Cowichan Thunderbirds weren’t satisfied with the result of the Island final.

"We weren’t happy," coach Perri Espeseth said. "We wished we could have won that game."

In the semifinal, Kelsey led Cowichan for the bulk of the game. "They scored in the first half, and held us off all the way through," Espeseth recalled. "It was so close for the majority of the game."

Brittany Smith scored with about six minutes left to send the game to a shootout, where Cowichan goalie Robin Fleming stopped every Kelsey shot, while the Cowichan shooters scored twice.

Throughout the tournament, sweeper Sara Lowes joined Fleming, Smith and Kelsey Goodman among Cowichan’s best players.

"Her level of hockey was at its best in the final two games," Espeseth said.

The T-Birds are optimistic they can continue their high level of play going into provincials.

"We really want to aim for the top three," Espeseth said. "If the girls keep themselves healthy and are mentally prepared, I think that’s something we can do. Obviously, our goal is to win provincials, but we don’t want to shoot too high."

Any of the Valley teams could be a contender for the provincial title, Koepp noted.

"All three teams can be very dangerous," she said.

Koepp would especially like to face one of the local rivals for the championship.

"We hope to meet Cowichan or Kelsey sometime in the tournament," she said. "We hope it’s in the final, but it might be in the semifinal."

Like Cowichan, Shawnigan is aiming for the podium.

"I think it’s reasonable for us to aim for the top four. We do want to ultimately aim for the final. I think we’ll do well in pool play, and then we need the girls to perform in the playoffs."

Just Posted

Cowichan District Hospital. (File photo)
Guest column: The story of a surgery in Cowichan

In homage to the Cowichan District Hospital and its surgical team

Motorcyclists in the hundreds depart from Duncan on a South Island ride in honour of the Kamloops 215. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Ride for the Kamloops 215 takes over Trans-Canada Highway

“My family was in residential schools for three generations. On the day… Continue reading

(The winning Lady of the Lake candidates demonstrate their talents during the annual Opportunity Night, Wednesday, June 8. Mary Batyi, left, does a Highland Dance routine, accompanied by a bagpiper; Jorden Matson, centre, shows people her artwork while telling the crowd what her inspirations are; Amber Bell tells people about competitive swimming, before providing a virtual demonstration.” (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette, June 15, 2011)
Flashback: Water meters, ‘Porky’, and Lady of the Lake

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Not securing your load could cost you big

An object of any sort falling off of the vehicle in front of you is definitely a surprise

Jared Popma recently streamed a live concert from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre. (Ashley Daniel Foot photo)
21-year-old jazz artist talks favourite tunes and joys of music theory

Jared Popma recently streamed a concert from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Most Read