Scores 4:03 into overtime for a 1-0 win against London St. Thomas Aquinas in game
three of the District girls' hockey final with Giesbrecht posting the shutout
Thursday, February 28, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - Reagan Bennett ends a five year wait. Alyssa Giesbrecht will be going in her first year.
Together, they have advanced the St. Joseph's Rams to the Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association (WOSSAA) tournament, following a 1-0 overtime win over the London St. Thomas Aquinas Flames (STA), in game three of the District girls' hockey final, at the Joe.
Bennett scored on a slapper from just inside the blue-line 4:03 in to the extra period, while Giesbrecht was unbeatable in the Rams' net.
"I just skated on and I saw the puck going to bounce off the boards and thought this is an awesome moment. I shot it and wished for the best," said Bennett. "It was kind of surprising but it worked. It's my first time going to WOSSAA. I'm so excited."
Jocelyn Delgado, who had her own opportunities to score and Grace Dodgson drew assists on the lone goal.
Giesbrecht, who made a game saving stop a minute before Bennett scored, won both of her starts between the pipes, also blanking the Flames, 2-0, in game one of the best of three affair.
"It just feels great. Grade nine and already going to WOSSAA," said Giesbrecht. "It was one of my big goals and I'm extremely happy that I have achieved it. I've been dreaming of this since Grade seven (at Immanuel Christian in Aylmer). It was very stressful and I was very nervous, but nerves have always helped me play better and compete better in the game."
Both teams had opportunities on the power play to strike first, but combined to go zero for nine. The Rams had a two man advantage for 1:32 to start the third period.
"We didn't seem to generate much off the power play," Rams' head coach Dave Fox said. "Our penalty kill did a decent job of keeping them hemmed down in their own end. We have to work on that power play for next week."
The WOSSAA tournament is Monday, March 4th, at Stronach Arena in London. St. Joe's takes on the Dorchester Beavers in their first game at 9:30 a.m.
"I know a lot of people on the Dorchester team, so I'm excited to play them. They're really good team," said Bennett.
The Rams are the District champions for the first time since the league was formed.
"We've been battling STA and Mother Teresa for a number of years now trying to take that top spot," said Fox. "Every game against (STA) has been a battle. I'm not the least bit surprised it came down to overtime."
St. Joe's took the opener of the District final, 2-0, on home ice Monday. STA tied the series with a 3-2 win in London.
"It wasn't our best game on Tuesday, but I could really sense that this would be a good game (today)," Bennett. "(Giesbrecht) played such a great game. She made some awesome saves."
Depth is strength for the Rams throughout their line-up heading to WOSSAA, with a berth at OFSAA for the winner of the final.
"We've got two pretty dangerous lines and we've got a third line that checks hard. I like our chances because of our depth," said Fox. "We're lucky. We've got three kids in that net that will give you everything."
For Giesbrecht, winning District ranks up with her top highlight of her young career. At a tournament in Chicago, while with the St. Thomas Panthers' atom BB team, an 11-year old Giesbrecht in her second year of playing hockey was in net, for a 3-2 win over a major A team.
"It was one of my greatest games ever," said Giesbrecht, now with the London Devilettes bantam team.
At WOSSAA, the Rams face Dorchester, while in the other semifinal, London South takes on the defending champions, the Clinton St. Anne's Eagles, from the Huron-Perth Conference.
Last year, St. Anne's brought home the OFSAA A/AA silver medal. This year, the Eagles cruised through the Huron-Perth regular season and playoffs undefeated.