Sports High School Sports

Tyanna Best leads Barrie's St. Joan of Arc with five points in 9-1 win

By Stephen Sweet, Special to Postmedia Network

Tyanna Best of the St. Joan of Arc Knights girls hockey team turns up ice during high-school action against the St. Joseph’s Jaguars on Tuesday. MARK WANZEL/PHOTO

Tyanna Best of the St. Joan of Arc Knights girls hockey team turns up ice during high-school action against the St. Joseph’s Jaguars on Tuesday. MARK WANZEL/PHOTO

The St. Joan of Arc Knights were very short on bodies Tuesday.

Having eight skaters wouldn’t be enough to slow them down, though.

The Knights had a few spectacular bursts to lead them to a 9-1 drubbing of the St. Joseph’s Jaguars in girls high-school hockey action.

“We had to work as a team this game,” said St. Joan of Arc’s Tyanna Best, who had five points in the win. “We couldn’t do long, selfish shifts because it had to be quick-paced hockey and we had to step up.”

Best, Alyssa Bertucca, Kayla Welk and Kate Rodman all had a pair of goals for the Knights, while Jayme Naylor picked up four assists.

Chloe Pilon had the lone goal for St. Joseph’s, which only trailed 2-1 after the first, but was overmatched from then on out.

“We (were good at) pretty much just working as a team,” Bertucca said. “We all have to trust that the other person will do their job and make it work.”

The Knights blew the game open in the second period, twice scoring a pair of goals in less than a minute, which put the contest out of reach before the third even began.

St. Joan of Arc has been an offensive powerhouse in girls hockey this season, scoring 39 goals in six games.

“We’re not selfish hockey players,” Best said. “We have our playmakers and our girls that can shoot, and we work together.

“We’re lucky with the group of girls we have and their skill.”

There’s only one game this season that the Knights haven’t put up five or more goals, and that was back in December, when they lost 4-1 to the undefeated St. Theresa’s Thunder.

“We weren’t playing as a team when we played them early in the season,” Best said. “We thought we could beat them with selfish hockey, but we can’t.

“When we play them again, we’ll be ready,” she added.

On Tuesday, offence was not a problem, as the Knights carved through the Jaguars defence on multiple occasions.

They also relied on good heads-up plays, like tip-ins on point shots and high-percentage passes to complement their work.

“I think, in our practices, it really helps with the drills we do and working on that stuff that’ll make us better,” Bertucca said. “It comes from the coaches, really, who help us get to that level that we can play.”

One of the biggest comparative advantages for St. Joan of Arc is their understanding of the game while on the ice.

“I think the passing is pretty on point,” Bertucca said. “We also know what we’re doing in the game, having those hockey smarts, and knowing that your teammates will be there for you.”

The Knights have a number of rep players, and they’ve found that their work with those clubs has paid dividends in high-school hockey.

“It’s huge, because we all play rep and do the off-ice training and dryland stuff, which is more than you get in just school hockey,” said Best, who suits up for the Aurora Panthers of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League.

With their regular season over, the games are becoming more important for the Knights, who are looking to find a way to OFSAA.

They’ll have to beat a number of tough opponents, including the Thunder, in order to do so.

“I think we have a really good chance,” Bertucca said. “With the way we’ve been playing lately, it just comes down to the commitment by our girls, but I think we have a good chance.”

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