Cowichan T-Birds refocus to finish at field hockey provincials

One shootout loss makes big difference for Cowichan

The Cowichan Secondary School Thunderbirds played to a fifth-place finish at the provincial AAA field hockey championships in Burnaby last weekend, suffering just one loss — in a shootout — along the way.

“Provincials didn’t end the way the girls had hoped or deserved,” T-Birds coach Perri Espeseth said. “However, they showed great courage and ended on a positive note to give them a fifth-place finish in the province.”

Like all teams at the tournament, the T-Birds had to go back and forth from water-based and rubber surfaces, something some squads did better with than others.

“This tournament was the battle of adaptability as each team had to jump from different playing surfaces hoping to catch the lucky bounces,” Espeseth related. “At times successfully capitalizing, and at others suffering.”

The T-Birds got off to a great start last Wednesday with decisive wins over Port Moody and Sardis, setting them up for a showdown with South Delta on Thursday that would decide first place in the pool.

“We were lucky to play that game on water,” Espeseth said, “hoping that the familiar surface would benefit us, and speed up and increase the level of play.”

South Delta came out strong and put Cowichan under pressure, but the T-Birds held a 2-0 lead at halftime. Just 10 minutes into the second half, however, South Delta had knotted the score at 2-2. Cowichan captain Jenna Goodman found the net on a penalty corner to give the T-Birds the win and first place in the pool.

That set up a quarter-final showdown against the Kelowna Owls, a team Cowichan seems to meet in the provincial playoffs every year. Playing on rubber, the T-Birds held the majority of possession and generated penalty corner after penalty corner, but couldn’t beat the Kelowna goalie. Scoreless through regulation, the game went to a shootout, and despite a great performance by their own goalie, Casey Tucker, the T-Birds still couldn’t solve the Owls’ keeper and were knocked out of the top four.

“The best we could do would be fifth,” Espeseth said. “So our goal had now shifted.”

The T-Birds faced familiar foes from Oak Bay on Friday morning in the match to decide who would fifth-place match. Deadlocked again after regulation, this time 1-1, the teams headed for another shootout.

“This time we found the back of the net and Casey did an excellent job controlling the shooters and directing them where she wanted them to go,” Espeseth reported. “Anya Hermant sealed the deal with the game winner in sudden death, and we would be playing for fifth that afternoon.”

The T-Birds returned to their dominant form and defeated Kitsilano 4-1 in their last game of the tournament.

“It is unfortunate that losing one game can change your fate, but that is the reality of playoffs in any sport,” Espeseth commented. “The character that this team showed in their ability to bounce back and play some outstanding hockey after a devastating loss was very uplifting and rewarding.”

Provincials marked the last games for team captains Goodman and Chloe Langkammer, and for fellow Grade 12s Hermant, Sage Nowzek, Mady Styba and Ava Smith.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Cow High Grade 12 player Anya Hermant in action against Port Moody at AAA provincials. (Heather Goodman photo)

Cow High Grade 12 player Ava Smith in action against South Delta at AAA provincials. (Heather Goodman photo)

Cow High Grade 12 player Chloe Langkammer in action against Sardis at AAA provincials. (Heather Goodman photo)

Cow High Grade 12 player Jenna Goodman in action against South Delta at AAA provincials. (Heather Goodman photo)

Cow High Grade 12 player Madi Styba in action against Sardis at AAA provincials. (Heather Goodman photo)

Cow High Grade 12 player Sage Nowzek in action against Port Moody at AAA provincials. (Heather Goodman photo)

Just Posted

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

Cowichan residents can Climb for Alzheimer’s in their own backyard

for the first time ever, open to anyone, anywhere in the province

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Nanaimo woman will buy ‘supersonic’ hair dryer after $500,000 lotto win

Debra Allen won $500,000 in July 28 Lotto Max draw

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

Cougar euthanized after attacking little dog in Qualicum area

Owner freed pet by whacking big cat, but dog didn’t survive the attack

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Most Read