The WIC Cougars were a little short-staffed. As it turned out, they needed a full lineup to beat the Abbotsford Ice for gold.
The Cougars, the local bantam female rep hockey team, lost 1-0 to the Ice in Sunday's championship final of the Surrey Tournament of Hearts. The Cats were missing forwards Madison Fjellstrom and Sabrina Knoop -- who traded their skates for beach wear and jetted off to Mexico prior to the game -- and couldn't generate enough offence against Abbotsford, a team they beat in a tournament final a month ago in Langley.
In Sunday's rematch, the Ice scored the only goal with 1:54 left in the third period.
"The team showed it has depth," said Cougars coach Don Knoop. "It was a very tough loss -- the second year in a row we've come in second place in the Surrey Tournament of Hearts. But the girls are progressing very well as a team and are looking really strong."
The 13- and 14-year-old Cougars started the Surrey event with a 3-1 win against the Ice. Prince George goalscorers were Kelly Shawara, Kyrsten Franz and Fjellstrom.
Next, the Cats dropped a 4-2 decision to the host team. Tanisha Hamilton and Jasmine Funk provided the offence for the Cougars.
After that disappointing setback, the Cats regrouped and battled the Kootenay Wildcats to a 1-1 tie, with the goal by Haley Reich.
The Cougars then took on the North Shore Winter Club and had to win by five goals to book a spot in the final. Led by Ava Keis and Shawara -- who scored two goals each -- the Cats skated to a 7-0 win. Funk, Franz and Reich also found the North Shore net.
The Cougars are off this coming weekend but will travel to Lac La Hache the following weekend for exhibition games against Kamloops.
For the Cats, the biggest event of the season will be provincials, which will be hosted by Kelowna in March.