Alberta cools off Devils

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:26 PM ET

Ottawa-area teams are making a habit of making their mark in a major way at the Canadian ringette championships. "It's a hotbed," said veteran local coach Dave Shoobert of the talent spread among clubs in Ottawa, Nepean and Gloucester. "But unfortunately, there's a hotbed out in Alberta, too."

The Gloucester-Cumberland Devils surely know that. For the third straight year, they were denied a national crown by the prairie powerhouse.

Yesterday, the final count was 8-3 in favour of Alberta in the championship game of the 2005 nationals at Winnipeg's Max Bell Centre.

"They were full value," Shoobert said yesterday after watching Alberta overpower his team. "The final score wasn't really indicative of the play. It was very even ... (Alberta) just played a little bit better than we did."

FLYING START

The Devils' chances looked great early on, as Beth Hurren and Barb Bautista had Gloucester-Cumberland up 2-0 before the game was four minutes old. But Alberta roared back for a 4-2 lead by the end of the first period, then scored the first three of the second to settle the matter.

Katie Lugg scored the final two Devils' goals. Kim Smyth led Alberta with a hat trick and Megan Todd added a pair.

"They came out flying after the second goal went in," said Shoobert of Alberta's charge. "We couldn't contain them."

Alberta's roster is stacked with six national team players from Edmonton, including both goaltenders, Keely Brown and Leanne Fedor. Lugg and Bautista were also part of Team Canada 2004.

Gloucester-Cumberland earlier lost 4-0 to Alberta in round-robin play, and went 9-0 against everyone else.

"We're the second-best team in the country, although there's not a lot of solace in that right now," said Shoobert.

The result is getting a little old for the Devils, who lost 7-5 to Alberta in the 2004 national final in Calgary and 8-3 a year earlier in Waterloo. Gloucester had the upper hand at the 2002 Canadians in Regina, edging Alberta 4-3 in overtime. But the tide has turned against them ever since.

This year's tournament marked the first ringette nationals since 2001 that didn't produce a Canadian champion from the capital region. The Ottawa Ice won the last two Canadian Belle (age 16-18) crowns, but saw their reign end Friday night with a 4-2 semi-final loss to Manitoba.

The teams were tied 1-1 after the first period, but Manitoba netted the first two goals of the second and never trailed the rest of the way.

Lindsey Vivian opened the scoring for the Ice, who received their bronze medals following yesterday's Belle final, won by Alberta 6-2. Kyrie Love also scored for Ottawa in the semi-final match.

The Ice went 5-3 in the 2005 tourney. All three losses came against Alberta and Manitoba (twice).

Quebec denied Alberta a title sweep with a 4-3 victory in yesterday's junior final.

rob.brodie@ott.sunpub.com


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