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Valley Wild Bantam AA female hockey team finishes fourth at provincials


Coach says his team, others in tight matches throughout tournament

BERWICK – The Valley Wild Bantam AA female hockey team have placed fourth after a series of hard fought, one-goal matches.

The team lost their Friday game 1-0 against the Metro West Force Blue team, and followed that with another tough match Saturday against Metro East Inferno.

The game was sitting at 2-1 as the final minutes ticked off the clock at the end of the third, with Metro East scoring an empty-netter after the Wild had pulled their goalie.

“The entire tournament was like this – tough, well-fought matches. We played well, and everyone out there gave it their all, but we just didn’t get some of those lucky bounces that the other teams got,” said McCarthy.

“We were all well-matched. We just didn’t get lucky.”

Emotions running high as graduating players depart team

The team played Metro East for the provincial bronze medal and finished the tournament in fourth place after their loss.

Zoey Rafuse of the Valley Wild breaks away toward the Metro East Force Blue's net during the opening game of 2018 provincial Bantam AA female hockey championship tournament.
Zoey Rafuse of the Valley Wild breaks away toward the Metro East Force Blue's net during the opening game of 2018 provincial Bantam AA female hockey championship tournament.

McCarthy said his players fought well, and that the team played hard together, with no one player standing out above the rest.

After the match, emotions were running high, but not just due to the loss. Graduating player Avi Adam, who is leaving to join a prep school team in Rochester, N.Y., was feeling emotional as she and her teammates, including McCarthy’s daughter, Abby, reflected on the game being the last they’ll all play together.

“These girls aren’t kids anymore. They’re adults, and they know how this goes. But it was emotional for Adam, for myself and for the team,” said McCarthy.

Female hockey on rise across province

The Metro West Force Blue won gold at the tournament, and will represent the province at the Atlantic Championships this April in Prince Edward Island.

With the season now wrapped up, McCarthy said most girls will continue with spring hockey programs and will try out for the u16 Nova Scotia female hockey team.

The season was one that came with its surprises, including adding players from Halifax and the South Shore to the Valley Wild’s roster, but McCarthy said he wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“We had a great year and finished second in the league. The girls committed and fought hard for each other, and as a coach, you can’t ask for more than that,” he said.

McCarthy also feels optimistic when thinking of the growth female hockey has seen over the past few years in the Annapolis Valley, and across the province.

“Female hockey is growing, and it’s exciting to watch. For anyone wanting to join next year, watch our website, look at the camps, consider tryouts and go see a game to see what female hockey can bring to the table for young girls,” he said.

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