McKnight, Quance and Vickers part of London Devilettes team that captures
PWHL crown a week after winning provincial championship
Monday, April 15, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
OAKVILLE, ON. - Three Dorchester hockey players have helped the London Devilettes have one of their most historic seasons.
Emma McKnight, Victoria Quance and Hannah Vickers, are part of the Devilettes' Provincial Women's Hockey League championship team, after a thrilling 1-0 win over Stoney Creek, in the final, Sunday in Oakville.
A week earlier, London captured provincial gold going 6-0, capped with a 3-0 shutout of Kingston, in the final.
"Absolutely surreal. Winning the first one was awesome, but wow, what a way to end everything. It feels like a dream. I can't even believe it," said Quance, who had two goals and four assists in 12 league playoff games. "Gosh, probably for the rest of my life this will be the best thing (in sports) that has ever happened."
McKnight had a front row seat watching the puck enter the net, shot from the stick of defenceman Meaghan Chittick, with 12.3 seconds remaining in the third period. Moments earlier McKnight won a puck battle in the corner to the left of the Stoney Creek goaltender.
"It happened so quickly. I passed it back and she shot it. It was crazy. We all just ran to her and I never cellied (celebrated the goal) so hard," said McKnight. "It's so amazing. I can't even describe it. I have never felt this way before."
McKnight finished tied for second in team playoff scoring with 11 points, on six goals and five assists. Julia Gosling led the Devilettes with 14 goals and five assists, for 19 points.
In the final four round robin, London blanked Toronto, 2-0, but lost to both Kingston and Stoney Creek. The Devilettes advanced to championship game against 3-0 Stoney Creek on a tie-breaker.
"We had to get the loss out of our mind and start fresh. Emotions were high considering this is our last game together for most of us," said Vickers, who had five assists in the playoffs.
The final seconds of the last game of the season won't soon be forgotten, certainly for the 13 graduating Devilettes, including the Dorchester trio.
"Everyone on the bench just jumped up and started hugging. Tears were already coming down people's faces," Vickers said. "It's a really good way to go out. It's the bond with everyone. We're all so close. Our motto is family and we are truly like a family. Most of these girls, I've been playing with since novice and atom, so to get to play with them through of these years is incredible."
Vickers, Quance and McKnight, also helped their high school team, Lord Dorchester, advance to the WOSSAA A/AA final, against Clinton St. Anne's. That set up Devilette teammates facing each as Hannah Taitt, Jaymee Nolan and goalie Jamie Johnson, were with St. Anne's.
"Being from the same school, the same town, all of our teachers hyped us up about it. It's been awesome," said Quance.
Retired Parkside C.I. teacher and coach Gary Comfort, has been with behind the bench with the Devilettes for four seasons.
"It's the first time in 15 years that the London Devilettes have won the gold medal at provincials and at the league as well, said Comfort. "Our goal was to finish in the top six and we ended up fifth place. We thought we had a chance to go far. We had a senior team. We had a lot of depth up front."
Forward Maggie McKee led the PWHL in regular season scoring for the second year in a row. Cousins Julia and Nicole Gosling, were on Canada's U18 world women's championship team, in January.
Touching on the team's motto of family, Comfort added players who weren't dressed, Kyra Minoletti, recovering from ACL surgery and Marisa Freeman and Alyssa Wouda, were out supporting the team.
"Even though we're losing 13 players, we're looking at not rebuilding, just adding more talent and going back at it again," Comfort said.
Quance heads to Nipissing University, in North Bay, this Septembers, while McKnight will be attending Queen's University, in Kingston. Both will be playing hockey. Vickers will be on the Mustang pitch, playing soccer for Western University.