February 12, 2009 – With just over a month left in regular season play, National Ringette League teams have their sights squarely set on securing a spot at the 2009 NRL Championship tournament being held from April 7-11, 2009 in Charlottetown, PEI. The top three teams in the Western Conference, which will be decided through regular season standings, will head to Charlottetown, where they will join the top six teams from the Eastern Conference. The six Eastern teams will include the division winners from each of the Eastern Conference’s three divisions (Capital, Montreal and Southern Ontario) and the remaining three teams 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 January. The Cambridge Turbos (2) fall from grace this month after Montreal Mission (1) squeaks into the top spot in the rankings, a position the Turbos have held since season start. Regardless of their positioning, both Montreal and Cambridge are guaranteed a spot at the NRL championship tournament given their considerable lead in their respective Eastern divisions.
Previously unranked Manitoba Jets (3) skyrocket into third this month after winning four of their five games since the last rankings. Winning three of their four games this past month, Edmonton WAM! (4) hold onto their fourth place position, while Calgary RATH (5) slip two spots to fifth. Waterloo Wildfire (6) won six and lost three to move up one spot to sixth, and Ottawa Ice (7) split their eight games and drop one spot since last month’s rankings. Rive-Sud Révolution (8), who were in fifth place last month, lost five of their seven games and drop to eighth, while Prairie Fire, who were in the bottom spot last month, have fallen from the rankings.
Montreal’s Julie Blanchette picks up the Eastern Conference’s first star nod, a feat she also accomplished back in December. Blanchette was instrumental in leading the Mission to ten wins out of 11 games since early January and posted an impressive 20 goals and 27 assists during that time. Cambridge’s Jacqueline Gaudet contributed 17 goals and 15 assists during the Turbos past 11 games to claim this month’s second star. Laval’s Jessica Pepper picks up this month’s third star after posting a notable 13 goals and seven assists and being named a game star in five of BLL’s nine games this past month.
In the Western Conference, a Finnish import who joined the Saskatoon Wild this past season picks up the first star this month. Salla Kyhala posted eight goals and four assists in the Wild’s last five games. Manitoba Jets goalie Amy Clarkson gets the second star nod after her performance between the pipes during the Jets four wins this past month. Clarkson had a 0.929 save percentage during the Jets five games. The last star goes to Calgary’s Tara Marquardt, whopicked up seven goals and 14 assists during the RATH’s 11 games.
National Ringette League Elite Eight as of February 12, 2009
Rank – (Ranking last month) – Tean name – Conference
1 – (2) – Montréal Mission – Eastern
2 – (1) – Cambridge Turbos – Eastern
3 – (–) – Manitoba Jets – Western
4 – (4) – Edmonton WAM! – Western
5 – (3) – Calgary RATH – Western
6 – (7) – Waterloo Wildfire – Eastern
7 – (6) – Ottawa Ice – Eastern
8 – (5) – Rive-Sud Revolution – Eastern