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Under-16 team has chance to win Canada's smallest province's first-ever medal at national championships Saturday
The P.E.I. Wave under-16 team has moved into position to make P.E.I. sporting history on home soil.
The Wave earned an opportunity to win P.E.I.’s first-ever medal at the Canadian ringette championships.
This is after the never-say-die Wave pulled out a thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind win over previously-undefeated Team Alberta (Calgary Impulse) in a quarter-final game at Credit Union Place in Summerside on Friday morning.
“It felt amazing because everyone was so happy,” said Hailey Murphy, who was one of the heroes for the Wave against Team Alberta. “No P.E.I. team has ever been this far before.”
P.E.I.’s win over Team Alberta set up a semifinal against Ontario Three (West Ottawa) on Friday at 4:30 p.m. The other semifinal featuring New Brunswick One taking on Alberta Four (Calgary Core) will be played at 3 p.m. The semifinal winners will meet in the gold-medal game on Saturday at 10 a.m., and the losing teams will play for the bronze medal at 8 a.m. Both medal contests will be played in Summerside.
Regardless the results of the medal games, this is believed to be the best-ever showing for a P.E.I. team in any age category at the nationals.
“It’s really great how little P.E.I. has so many talented athletes,” said the 15-year-old Murphy, who calls Stratford home.
Another key author in P.E.I.’s storybook win against Team Alberta was Lilly MacPhee, who scored the tying goal as time expired in regulation time.
“Usually my shots go way too high,” said MacPhee, who made no mistake after P.E.I. was awarded possession of the ring inside Team Alberta’s zone following a two-line pass call with just over two seconds showing on the clock. “Fran (head coach Francois Caron) just said shoot hard and low.”
If that wasn’t enough dramatics for the green-clad, flag-waving, bucket-beating and noisy P.E.I. fans, Murphy was about to bring them out of their seats one more time. Murphy, who was set up by Alexa Carpenter, scored the winning goal 4:15 into overtime, which led to a wild on-ice celebration by the Wave.
“I was following Alexa, she dropped it, I just shot it and it went top corner,” said the 15-year-old Murphy, who is from Souris.
Murphy said it is “probably” the biggest goal of her ringette career.
MacPhee said the equalizer was “definitely” the biggest goal of her career.
“It’s really great for P.E.I. and our team,” said MacPhee describing the team reaching the semifinals. “This is my first nationals and it’s amazing to have such a great team and great coaches. For it to be on P.E.I. is even better, the support is great.”
MacPhee agreed this week’s national championships, which feature 45 teams competing in three divisions, is great promotion for ringette.
“Ringette is such a great sport,” said MacPhee. “It’s awesome that we have the nationals here so it can raise awareness for the sport.”