The Tri-Port Midget Wild showed up with only 11 players to Wickfest, but that didn’t stop them from achieving their goal of bringing home some shiny new medals.
Wickfest, The Canadian Tire Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival, is the dream come-to-life of six-time Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser, and the festival was held in Surrey this year from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3.
This was the Wild’s second time playing in Wickfest (last year they went to Calgary where they won bronze), and this year they were downright determined to show how much their skills as hockey players had improved since then.
Their first game of the tournament was held on Feb. 1, where they ended up shutting out the Oceanside Icebreakers 2-0, with goals coming from captain Taylor Ranger (assisted by Jessica Wadhams and Kylee Puglas-Wilson) and Merrick Browne (assisted by Mandy Foldy).
With their first win under their belts, the Wild would go on to play the host city Surrey later that same day, and did they ever light them up, scoring goals over all three periods thanks to Puglas-Wilson, Taylor Spafford, Ranger (x2) and Wadhams, to earn a big 5-1 victory.
The next day was the big matchup that everyone had been waiting for.
The Wild faced off against a very tough rep team from Scarborough, Ontario known as the Sharks, who ended up biting the Wild numerous times over three periods of play.
Final score, 7-0 for the Sharks.
With only the one loss on their record during the entire tournament, the Wild ended up tied in points with the Cowichan Valley Capitals, who had stacked their regular roster with a few AAA players.
Despite the adversity and a short bench, the Wild continued to find ways to win, scoring twice in the first period thanks to Laci McGregor and Madison Van Will (assist on first goal went to Ranger), and then Ranger would find the back of the net in the third (assist went to Van Will) to clinch the victory 3-1, earning the Wild a rematch on Feb. 3 against the Sharks, this time with the Midget Tier 2A gold medals on the line.
The Wild knew they would have to pull out all the stops in an attempt to win.
The Sharks had a stacked roster of 16 tough rep players, and they used their numbers advantage to tire out the girls over the first period, before finally finding the back of the net four times in the last two periods to fly back to Ontario with gold medals.
Wild Team Manager Serena Foldy said afterwards she was “Very proud of our midget girls. They made them work for this win and never gave up the whole game.”