top of page

Leaside U22 Elite goes 3-2 at USA-Canada Cup in Kitchener Waterloo

Another Successful Showcase Weekend: Leaside U22 Elite goes 3-2 at USA-Canada Cup in Kitchener Waterloo


Leaside Junior Elite warming up in one of the nicest arenas in Canada for the USA Canada Cup

The Leaside Wildcats U22 Elite team is coming off another successful showcase held this past weekend in Kitchener-Waterloo. The USA-Canada Cup Series hosted 64 elite teams from across North America and had Scouts and Coaches from USPORT and NCAA teams in attendance, allowing the team and its players to perform under their watchful eye.

The team finished the weekend with a strong 3-2 record, including one overtime loss, continuing to build on their previous successes in league and tournament play, bringing its aggregate record in the three showcase events in which it has participated this season to 7-7-1.


Friday started with two games, Windy City Storm and Detroit Honeybaked. The Wildcats put up a lot of shots against Windy City but only managed to light the lamp once. Coach Janus describes how hard the Wildcats worked the opposition’s goalie. “The goalie from Windy City made some excellent saves keeping the game close on the scoresheet; cutting down angles and moving well across her crease to track pucks.”


The second game on Friday saw the team in a rematch of a tie game in the last showcase in Detroit versus Detroit Honeybaked, with the Wildcats coming out on top with a convincing 3-1 victory. In a repeat of the day’s first game, Detroit’s goalie stood strong facing a lot of rubber but despite Detroit gaining a one goal advantage in the first, it could not hold back the Wildcats who would answer back with three unanswered goals carrying much of the play.

Saturday saw the team matching up against North York Storm and Detroit Belle Tire, both of whom they have played once this season. In the afternoon game versus North York, the Wildcats found themselves down by one early with a power play goal for North York. The Wildcats would tie it up late in the game and force over time. For the second time this season, North York capitalized in OT, sending the Wildcats home with a loss.


The night game versus Belle Tire would have a different flavor to it with both teams coming out strong and looking for big wins to give them a chance to finish near the top of their pool. The Wildcat U22 Elite players came out strong and put lots of shots at the Belle Tire net but Belle Tire lit the lamp first with a power play goal in the first period. This score would hold until early in the third period when #44 Sadie Lovering would tie the game with a great point shot, finding the top of the net through traffic. For the second time that day, the team went into overtime looking for a win. The teams exchanged chances at each end before #19 Mackenzie Mills netted her second of the Showcase with a quick shot from an offensive zone faceoff. Speaking about the team’s performance Coach Janus noted “Our team had a great bounce back performance in tonight’s game. We managed pucks well and generated lots of scoring chances. Our group played with a lot of heart and pride tonight.”


The Wildcats completed round robin play with a 3-1 record. Unfortunately, not enough to move on to a banner game but enough to see a strong opponent in the Ottawa Jr Sens – who the team had not yet faced this year. “This was a great opportunity to size up our opponents for future games where we’ll be looking to take points in league play.” Says Coach Janus.


The Jr Sens got off to a hot start but the Wildcats were able to settle things down finishing the first period with a 2-1 lead. “We were able to take control of our game after the first period and start executing on passes through the neutral zone and finding success on zone entries.” Says Coach Janus, describing the team play in the first period that allowed them to take the early lead.


The Jr Sens team, with a number of U18 National participants, was not going to go away easily and battled back in the second to take a 4-2 lead into the third. They fell into penalty trouble in the third period leaving the Wildcats attacking on the power play and seeing two 5 on 3 opportunities. The Wildcats applied pressure but were able to capitalize only once on the power play reducing the lead to one goal, and with an empty net were unable to notch the equalizer. “We’ll need to make sure we’re ready for their speed and grittiness next time we play them. They’re a good team who doesn’t take their foot off the gas.” Coach Janus goes on to explain how the Wildcats will be even more prepared for the Jr Sens the next time they face. “Faceoff execution will be a key focus as starting with possession will give us the opportunity to dictate the play. Transitional play will be another key focus for us. Faster anticipation to have more players join into the rush and in the opposite direction, reloading above options to match numbers on the back check. This will help defend the neutral zone and limit the number of clean zone entries against.”


Going into the event Coach Janus had believed that it would be “another positive weekend for our team in which the girls continue to come together and develop – both on and off the ice” and the team did not disappoint. The team put up some strong performances against hungry opponents, coming out with a positive win-loss record.


The team hits the road on Friday night as they travel to Kingston and Cornwall for back-to-back games. After that the Wildcats have three games left before the Holiday break and returning for league play in the New Year.


ABOUT THE PROGRAM:


The Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association (TLGHA), one of the largest female hockey associations in the world, has a long history of making the great game of hockey available to young female athletes. Its U22 Elite program represents its pinnacle and since its inaugural season in 2013/14 has supported hundreds of elite athletes in realizing their potential, on and off the ice. The program boasts a roster of 70+ players who have gone on to compete for championships at the USport and NCAA level and professionally, as well as several high finishes in league play in the very competitive OWHA U22 Elite league. The 2023/24 season represents the TLGHA’s 50th anniversary and a renewed focus on restoring the program to its place at the top of elite female junior hockey. For more information about the program please reach out to us at LeasideU22Elite@gmail.com or through our website at www.LeasideU22Elite.ca.



Comments


2024/25 Olympic Sponsor

bottom of page