Patrick Fogarty wins GBSSA hockey title
Dave Dawson/The Packet & Times Patrick Fogarty goalie Paige Stachura keeps her eyes on the puck as it comes toward her during heated second-period action Tuesday at Rotary Place. The Grade 10 student was strong in net to help lead the Flames to a 1-0 win and the GBSSA championship. The Flames will now compete at OFSAA later this month.
The Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School girls hockey team is back on top.
The Flames won a hard-fought 1-0 decision over Barrie’s St. Joseph’s Catholic High School on Tuesday at Rotary Place to capture the Georgian Bay Secondary Schools Association (GBSSA) crown and punch their ticket to the provincial championship.
“Honestly, I didn’t think we would get this far this year, but we found a way and I’m really happy about it,” said Flames captain Ally Graham, who was all smiles after the victory.
Graham, on a first-period slap shot from the point, scored the game’s lone goal.
“It was a pretty even game, so for us to come out on top … it feels pretty awesome,” she said.
Netminder Paige Stachura agreed.
“It feels very good,” she said. “To get a shutout in the championship game is a great accomplishment. The team played so well defensively … I didn’t have to do much in the third period.”
But in the second period, with the Jags pressing for the tying goal, Stachura, a Grade 10 student, made two outstanding saves.
After that, the Flames tightened up defensively and did not give the Jags forwards any space, kept them to the outside and spent as much time in the offensive end as possible.
The game was in stark contrast to last week’s Catholic School Athletics of Simcoe County (CSASC) championship game between the same two teams.
In that game, the Jags prevailed 3-1.
“I think we just had more drive in this game,” Stachura said of her team’s determined effort. “We had a common goal we were all fighting for.”
Graham, a Grade 11 student, said her team knew what was on the line Tuesday.
“Last week, we knew we didn’t really have to win (because as the host team they received a bye into the GBSSA tournament), so we didn’t play our best,” said the defenceman. “Our defence was very strong today.”
It was a tough loss to swallow for the Jaguars. While Fogarty scored a relatively easy 8-4 win over Bracebridge Muskoka Lakes Secondary School in their semifinal at 10:30 a.m., St. Joseph’s was embroiled in a tense, nail-biting contest against Nouvelle-Alliance, also from Barrie.
The Jags scored six minutes into the third to knot the score at 1-1. Nothing was settled in regulation time, so the game went to a five-minute, 3-on-3 overtime that the Jaguars dominated.
However, nobody could score.
With the game still tied, the do-or-die contest went to a shootout and the Jaguars finally hit pay dirt as captain Gillian Van Iderstine was the only player to score among the six to participate in the shootout. It was enough to send the team to the championship game.
But the win took a toll, said Jags coach Joe Cano.
“It was an exciting game between two evenly matched teams and it took a lot out of us,” Cano said. “We were prepared (for Fogarty) mentally, but the game this morning was so tough physically and emotionally, we didn’t have much left in the tank.”
Despite the heartbreaking loss, Cano said he was proud of his team.
“We were missing two key players that played last week and that hurt us,” said the coach. “But we gave what we had. I’m a little disappointed, but also proud.
“The girls showed a lot of heart, they worked hard and never gave up.”
While the season is over for the Jags, the Flames will now focus on getting ready to play against 19 of the province’s top girls hockey teams at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championship, which will begin March 22 in Stratford.
“No one on this team has the experience of playing at OFSAA, so that is a disadvantage,” said Bill Bazinet, who coaches the team with Dave Chambers. “But having said that, there is a dynamic here you can’t fake.
“I think they will go in with a fresh perspective and it won’t necessarily matter how deep they go – it’s about the experience.”
While Bazinet hopes the team surprises its opponents at OFSAA, it’s a step in a process, he said.
“We know we’re building a team,” he said, noting just one current player, Kiah Shanks, will graduate this year. “We have a huge amount of Grade 9 kids, so this is something to build on.
“We’re pretty excited about that and we’re really proud of how far they’ve come.”
The Flames have not been to OFSAA in girls hockey for several years. However, the girls team was a powerhouse prior to that and in their best-ever result at OFSAA, skated to a fourth-place finish.
“None of us have ever been to OFSAA before so we’ll have to see how it goes,” Graham said. “But I think we showed our school and the community what we are capable of today.
“It’s a good feeling.”