March 4, 2009 – The dash to the end of regular season play is in full force in the National Ringette League and while a few teams have secured their spot at the 2009 NRL Championship tournament being held from April 7-11, 2009 in Charlottetown, PEI, many teams are in a tight race to the finish line.
In the Western Conference, the top three teams in the regular season standings will head to the championship tournament and at this point, only Edmonton WAM! is guaranteed a spot. The remaining two spots will be fought over during a tournament in Saskatoon this coming weekend. In the Eastern Conference, Montreal Mission, Cambridge Turbos and Ottawa Ice have all won the top spot in their respective division and have claimed a spot in Charlottetown. The remaining three spots, as well as seeding, will be decided during the Eastern Conference playoffs, which will take place March 21-22.
The league announced its monthly Elite Eight rankings today, as well as its stars for February. Last month’s ranked teams remain in the rankings this month, but there has been a bit of shuffling. Montreal Mission (1) hold their top spot and the Cambridge Turbos (2) remain in second. Edmonton WAM! (3) move up one spot from last month, as does Calgary RATH (4). Ottawa Ice (5) move up two spots from seventh place last month and the Manitoba Jets (6) fall from third place. Waterloo Wildfire (7) drop one spot and Rive-Sud Revolution maintain their eighth place ranking.
This month’s three stars from the Eastern Conference come from the top teams in each division. Cambridge’s Sharolyn Wouters picks up the first star nod after posting a stellar 14 goals and eight assists in the Turbos last four games. Montreal’s Julie Blanchette picks up the second star on the heels of capturing the first star nod last month. Blanchette picked up seven goals and five assists during the Mission’s three games this past month. Ottawa’s Katie Lugg picks up this month’s third star after posting an impressive 12 goals and five assists in the Ice’s past six games.
The Western Conference, Saskatoon Wild has produced another first star. Last month, the Wild’s Salla Kyhala picked up the honor and this month her teammate Erin Cumpstone gets the nod. In four games, Cumpstone posted five goals and seven assists. The West’s second star goes to Chelsea Stone from the Edmonton WAM!. Stone scored seven goals and four assists during her team’s last four games. The last star goes to Stone’s teammate Barb Bautista who picked up three goals and two assists during the same timeframe.
National Ringette League Elite Eight as of March 4, 2009:
Rank – (Ranking last month) – Team name – Conference
1 – (1) – Montréal Mission – Eastern
2 – (2) – Cambridge Turbos – Eastern
3 – (4) – Edmonton WAM! – Western
4 – (5) – Calgary RATH – Western
5 – (7) – Ottawa Ice – Eastern
6 – (3) – Manitoba Jets – Western
7 – (6) – Waterloo Wildfire – Eastern
8 – (8) – Rive-Sud Revolution – Eastern