July 12th, 2024

Rattlers strike provincial gold


By Lethbridge Herald on March 26, 2024.

SUBMITTED PHOTO The Lethbridge Rattlers U19 B ringette team won provincial gold over the weekend.

The Lethbridge Rattlers  U19 B ringette team went from being unsure if they could field a team to becoming provincial champions all in one season.

The Rattlers went  a perfect 6-0, including a 6-4 win over Medicine Hat in the gold medal game,  on route to winning the provincial title over the weekend in Leduc.

“We knew going in that we can hang with all these big teams and if we played six great games, we figured we could do OK,” said Gordon Cox, Rattlers assistant coach.

The Rattlers went 3-0 in round-robin play, before winning a cross over game and a semi-final to set up the final against Medicine Hat, who the Rattlers hadn’t beaten to that point in the season.

Defense was an important part of the win.

“We held teams to low goals against us, our goalie had two shutouts and we executed in the last game,” said Cox.

“ We played a really, really strong defensive game and made them really struggle to get the ring. We had some of our stronger players, our leadership came forward, we got some key goals and we got the win.”

Cox saw the team buy-in on defence as their strength.

“It was a defensive effort from every single player from  forwards to centre to our defence players,” said Cox.

“Everyone bought into our defensive concept of man coverage, making it really tough to get through the neutral zone, making it really hard for them to find open players to pass to.”

The win comes after starting the season  with the uncertainty of whether or not they could field a  roster.

“We had a pretty interesting group,” said Cox.

“At the start of the year we weren’t even sure if we were going to have a team for this age group because we only had eight, nine players I think in that age category that were coming back to play. So we did some player movement and we approached some players in our U16 category about moving up. So we had six U16 players move up, which was a huge jump for those players (and) one girl coming straight out of U14. So we started off with  a really young group with a lot of players that have never played together before. So we didn’t have super high expectations at the start.”

The team hovered around the .500 mark by January.

“Our goal was just to make provincials,” said Cox.

“We felt that would be quite the accomplishment for this group. But they really jelled together, they were really coachable, we worked a lot with the younger players, we had some really strong leadership from the senior players that took a lot of the players under their wing to mentor them.”

Cox thinks the U19 group is set up well heading into the future with the successful season. 

“With those U16 players having the opportunity to come up and play with these older girls, and to see what it takes to win a championship, see what it takes in practice (and) how teamwork is ultimately what achieves these goals, I think we’ve really set them up well for those,” said Cox.

“Our older players, some of them have some aspirations to go on to play maybe Pronghorns or some other stuff. So yeah this was a great season for that and it’s good for our association too. It’s good to see success, it’s good for the younger players, it really inspires them throughout all the age groups to see these older girls bring home a trophy and their medals.”

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