Wildfire going to Nationals

The Waterloo Wildfire of the National Ringette League won their best of three qualifying series this past weekend in Waterloo 2 games to 1 against the Gloucester Devils.
The Wildfire finished fifth in the 12-team Eastern Conference of the NRL and were favoured to win over the 8th place Devils. However, Gloucester came out strong in the first game Saturday afternoon at RIM Park in Waterloo and defeated the local squad 4-3, breaking a 3-3 tie with just over 6 minutes to play. Lindsey Vivian, Jodie Hannen and Bryanna Kelly scored for the Wildfire who outshot Gloucester 36-29 in the contest. Samantha Morris led Gloucester with a hat trick.
Saturday evening at Moses Springer Arena the Wildfire regained their composure and took a hard fought 6-5 victory to knot the series at one game apiece. Bryanna Kelly and Lindsey Vivian each scored twice to pace Waterloo while Amanda Somerville and Katie Dawson added singles. Lisa Malanka played another strong game in the Waterloo cage stopping 27 shots.
Sunday afternoon at Albert McCormick Arena in Waterloo was the scene of the final game in this series and at first it seemed like it would be another close tussle with each team scoring once in the first 5 minutes. However, on this day the Wildfire were not to be denied scoring 3 times in the remainder of the first period and took a 4-1 lead into the second half which they dominated by outscoring the Devils 5 to 2 to skate away with a 9-3 victory, taking the series 2 games to one. Tara Gross counted 4 goals for the Wildfire, Bryanna Kelly had a hat trick and Shelly Kraemer and Amanda Somerville added singles.
Waterloo will now move on to the NRL Championship Tournament April 7 – 11 in Charlottetown PEI where they will join their regional arch rivals the Cambidge Turbos and eight other teams from across the country.
The Wildfire have just two weeks to prepare for the Nationals and to raise approximately $17,000 to cover costs of the trip. The team will be appealing to ringette supporters and businesses in the region for financial support. Eleven of the 15 players on the team are university or college students in K-W and surrounding cities.