For the second consecutive season the Waterloo Wildfire are going to the National Ringette League Championships. This year’s event takes place in Saskatoon April 6-10.
After completing the NRL Eastern Conference schedule in 5th place in the 12-team groupimg the Wildfire hosted the 6th place Rive Sud Revolution in a best of 3 series Saturday and Sunday in Waterloo. Although they fired 122 shots at Rive Sud goalie Marie-Eve Boutin, it took the Waterloo women 3 games to oust the pesky Revolution and move on to Saskatoon.
Saturday afternoon at RIM Park the Wildfire used their speed on the larger ice surface and breezed to an 11-2 victory getting 2-goal performances from Lindsey Vivian, Jodie Hannen, Brianna Kelly and Shelly Kraemer and singles from Shelagh Rouse, Kerith Gordon and Tara Gross.
However, Rive Sud wasn’t finished and used their hit and grind physical style to their advantage on the small Moses Springer Arena ice surface Saturday night and eked out a 5-4 victory forcing a third and final game Sunday afternoon. Four Wildfire players shared the scoring – Vivian, Hannen, Gordon and Kelly.
Sunday’s game at Albert McCormick Arena, another small ice surface, again gave the Revolution the early advantage as they led 2-0 half way through the first half before the Wildfire rallied to end the first in a 3-3 tie. Waterloo showed their superiority in the second half outscoring their Quebec opponents 5-1 to skate off with a hard earned 8-4 victory. Vivian scored twice for the Wildfire and in a balanced attack 6 other players potted singles – Amanda Somerville, Hannen, Kelly, Gross, Cathy Van Oosterhout and Kraemer.
Waterloo will now begin preparations for their appearance on the national stage with home and home exhibition games the next 2 weekends in Waterloo and Cambridge with their cross regional rivals the Turbos who will also be going to Saskatoon to defend the NRL crown they won last year in Charlottetown.
Off the ice the Wildfire players, many of whom are university and college students, will be mounting a fundraising drive with a goal of $20,000 to cover their costs. Any local businesses and fans who would like to help out can call Wildfire GM, Gerry Kraemer at 519-888-7205. Individual players may also be soliciting your financial assistance.