The South Okanagan Zone U19 ringette squad, which includes a number of players from Lake Country, celebrate their gold-medal victory at the recent Okanagan Autumn Blast tournament in Vernon. (Contributed)

The South Okanagan Zone U19 ringette squad, which includes a number of players from Lake Country, celebrate their gold-medal victory at the recent Okanagan Autumn Blast tournament in Vernon. (Contributed)

Lake Country players lift ringette squad

South Okanagan U19 team wins tournament in Vernon, going undefeated; Lake Country player scores OT winner

Lake Country ringette players had a recent blast in Vernon.

The Greater Vernon Ringette Association hosted its Okanagan Autumn Blast tournament Nov. 5-7 with teams from four age groups coming in from Alberta and the Lower Mainland to compete against North Okanagan and South Okanagan zone groups.

South Okanagan Zone U19 (composed of athletes from Lake Country to Westside) battled hard all weekend and went undefeated in round-robin play, setting them up with a gold-medal match up against U19 Calgary South, who was hungry for payback for their preliminary round loss to the South.

It was a back-and-forth final with the South Okanagan prevailing 4-3 in overtime as Lake Country’s Haylie Duff scored the winner with 2:20 left in the first extra period for the gold medal. The goal came after a couple of big saves by South Okanagan’s goalie Liam Turner led to a quick transition up the ice and into the Calgary zone where Duff found the top corner with her shot.

Three times South Okanagan took the lead in the contest, three times Calgary came back to equalize.

Duff opened the scoring early for Okanagan South just 25 seconds into the game. Calgary answered back a few minutes after. Molly Dyck (Westside) gave Okanagan South another one goal lead at the 6:57 mark, to which Calgary answered right back 30 seconds later.

Steph Millar (Lake Country) potted the go-ahead goal at 5:27 but again Calgary evened the scoring with only 24 seconds left in the half.

Both teams battled hard in the second half with a lot of near misses and great saves made but the score remained tied and headed into a five-minute sudden death overtime period.

The North Okanagan zone won the bronze medal.

In the U14 division, the South Okanagan zone was also able to battle their way to a gold medal victory.

A Lake Country ringette parent called it “a great weekend of ringette and a well-planned event…”

READ MORE: Greater Vernon ringette excited to return to ice

READ MORE: New ringette school amplifying the sport in the Okanagan

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