Titans Shake Up Girls Hockey Playoffs

Titans Shake Up Girls Hockey Playoffs with Strong Performance
Posted on 02/15/2024

By Larry Moko

The ‘real’ Bishop Tonnos Titans girls’ high school hockey team showed up in the playoffs.
During the regular schedule, the fourth-place Titans lost a pair of one-sided games against the first-place St. Thomas More Knights – 9-3 and 6-1.

But in their semifinal match-up at Morgan Firestone Arena Wednesday, More had to rally just to eke out a 4-3 decision. That outcome stretched the Knights’ unbeaten streak in the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league to 11 games (10-0-1).
“Over the course of the season our team came together individually but also collectively,” Titans coach Alyssa Berardocco said. “That showed today. The team that St. Thomas More played twice earlier is not the team that they saw today.”

Tonnos began the playoffs a few days ago with a 9-3 quarter-final victory over the St. Mary Crusaders.

On goals by Lola Connelly, Clea Hastings and Audrey Buist, Tonnos built a 3-1 second period lead over the Knights.

However, More got two goals by Olivia Helm and one by Sadie D’Angela to tie the score heading into the third period.

That set the stage for Mary Hedgcock’s deciding marker – assisted by Emma Bezeau -- with 7 minutes, 29 seconds remaining. It was a high shot to the corner from the low slot.

“Teams show up for the playoffs,” More coach Trevor Young said. “We expected a game and we got one.

“We knew it would be a closer this time. You never know who is missing on any given night in a regular-season game.”

Tonnos pulled goaltender Keira Flynn for an extra attacker with 1:38 remaining. That produced an immediate scoring opportunity but no more threats before the final buzzer.

“In the third period we couldn’t generate enough offence,” Berardocco said. “We just made a few mistakes and St. Thomas More capitalized.”

The Tonnos coach praised the performance of her Grade 9 goalie, Flynn.

“She did a phenomenal job for us. Kiera came on to the team as our only goalie this year. In the recent past, we’ve had skaters playing goal. Kiera was a little hesitant at first but over the course of the season really figured it out. Her teammates helped cheer her on and she gained confidence.”
Hedgcock’s winner was her 10th goal of the season.

“Mary is always hustling,” Young said. “She got in the right spot and put it in the net.”

A veteran right winger, Hedgcock said: “It’s exciting. That last couple of years we’ve made it to the semifinals but haven’t made it to the championship. So it should be a fun experience.”

According to Young, the strength of More is its depth up front and on the blueline.

“We had a slow start today,” he said. “We knew if we stuck to our game plan it would eventually pay off.”

More will face the Bishop Ryan Celtics for the league title on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Second-place Bishop Ryan earned its berth with a 3-2 semifinal victory over the third-place St. John Henry Newman Cardinals.

Bishop Ryan got two goals by Bianca Della Maestra and a single by Maya Valeri.

Gabby Salciccioli and Nicole Cunnane replied for Newman.

Della Maestra’s goal in the third-period broke a 2-2 tie.

The only team to take a point away from More in the standings this season was Bishop Ryan – 1-1 on Jan. 15. More defeated the Celtics, 4-1, in their other meeting.
Photos by Richard Andoga

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