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WIC girls gain valued experience in Surrey

Wins have been rare for the WIC bantam female Cougars this minor hockey season. The Cats did, however, post some small victories on the weekend. The 13- and 14-year-old Cougars were in Surrey for a tournament and lost all four games they played.

Wins have been rare for the WIC bantam female Cougars this minor hockey season. The Cats did, however, post some small victories on the weekend.

The 13- and 14-year-old Cougars were in Surrey for a tournament and lost all four games they played. But, all the contests were relatively close. For head coach Terri Pfliger, that's an encouraging sign.

"When the girls were peewees, they were losing to these same teams 10-0 and 12-0," Pfliger said. "So the girls themselves are making big improvements."

The Cats lost 3-0 to Kelowna, 5-2 to Surrey, 6-2 to North Shore and 5-2 to Maple Ridge.

"We competed hard every game," Pfliger said. "The last game was not quite as good but the three previous games, we matched up quite well. We just had some mental mistakes and we paid the price each time."

WIC is a young club this season. Twelve of the 18 players on the roster are first-year bantams so development for the future has been the focus.

In Surrey, the Cougars got terrific goaltending from Stephanie Bernier. Another reason why the Cats gave their opponents trouble was the defensive work done by the forward line of Jasmine Funk, Ashley Bartsch and Adrianna Johnson.

"They shadowed the top players on the other teams and they did a really good job," Pfliger said.

Offensively, the Cougars were led by Funk, Kelly Shawara and Kelsey Todd.

The Cats have only played in one other tournament this season, in December in Cranbrook. In four games that weekend, they managed one victory.

The Cougars had planned to skate in Burnaby in November but had to cancel their trip because too many of their players were suffering from the flu. WIC was also supposed to host a tournament Jan. 15-17 but teams from B.C.'s warmer regions weren't interested in coming north.

Most of the Cats will play for Team Northwest at the B.C. Winter Games, March 4-7 in Terrace. Those high-calibre contests will lead them nicely into the provincial championship tournament the following weekend in Kamloops. At the B.C. gathering, the Cougars will have modest goals.

"It would be nice to get a win," Pfliger said.

"It's a long road and it's a very young team but we're getting better every time we step on the ice against strong competition. We don't get a chance to do that very often and if we were able to do that on a regular basis it would be much better for the development of the team."