Edgar gets her own title story

KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

SARNIA -- Allison Edgar has heard the Allan Cup stories all her life.

The Brigden native was born a month after her father Brian and uncle Barry won the second of two national senior hockey championships with the Petrolia Squires in 1981.

Now Edgar can share a few tales of her own around the dinner table after her Toronto Aeros won the national women's hockey championship 2-1 over the Brampton Thunder yesterday.

"I can go home and say, 'I've been there.' It's so exciting; it's so nice."

Edgar said her father didn't give her any advice before the big game. He didn't need to.

"I saw him on the concourse and he said, 'Good luck.' I know how to prepare."

The steady defenceman also knows how to handle pressure.

She's won provincial titles in the past -- including a gold medal for Ontario at the Canada Winter Games in Newfoundland in 1999 -- and she balances playing in the Women's National Hockey League with medical school studies.

Edgar, who picked up three assists in the tournament, has an exam in biomechanics to study for when she gets back to the University of Toronto.

An Aeros rookie, Edgar was given the championship trophy to carry back to the dressing room. She also was the only player kids called by name as the Aeros left the ice at the Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre, where 2,990 fans took in the final.

"It was nice to look up into the stands and see a lot of faces I recognize," she said.

In round-robin play, the Aeros, the tournament hosts, were defeated 3-1 by Brampton, representing Ontario.

In the final, Toronto was outplayed in the first two periods before scoring two short-handed goals in the final frame.

The goals by Heather Logan and Jennifer Botterill both came off turnovers.

"This team hasn't done things the easy way," said Toronto netminder Sami-Jo Small, the alternate goalie for Team Canada.

"People put their heart and soul into this knowing we had nothing to lose."

Small said one night a week the team is forced to practise at midnight because it's the only time it can get ice. They also lost two of their top players before the tournament -- Lara Perks and Jessica Tab, a U.S. national team player.

The Aeros didn't know whether they should stay in Sarnia to celebrate or head back to Toronto last night.

Nobody thought they'd have reason to party, Small said.

"Everyone assumed we'd be going home."

The Aeros and Thunder meet again Wednesday for the first game in the best-of-three WNHL semifinal.

"It's an intense rivalry," said the Thunder's Kathy Devereaux, a Seaforth native.

"It's a tough loss to take. We have to bounce back and I know we will."

In yesterday's bronze-medal game, Quebec defeated B.C. -- coached by London native Nancy Wilson -- 4-2.

Mike Richardson, SSEC general manager, said the championship was well attended and helped put Sarnia on the national sports map.

He received calls from people in Winnipeg and Newfoundland who said they saw the building on television.

"The national coverage has been phenomenal," he said.

For the first time at the championship, both semifinals and the final were broadcast live on TSN.

Edgar said her family doesn't have a tape of the Squires' finals, but they'll definitely have a copy of this one.

GAME GLANCE

Toronto 2, Brampton 1

Toronto goals: Heather Logan, Jennifer Botterill

Brampton goal: Vicky Sunohara

Champs: Toronto wins the national women's hockey championship.


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