108 Mile Ranch hockey player Cailey Mellott is a pretty happy young lady these days, as the female AAA midget hockey team she plays with – the Northern Capitals – won the 2015/16 Female Midget AAA (FMAAA) Provincial Championship in Coquitlam on March 18-19.
The Prince George team, which also won the provincials last year, was the underdog to the Greater Vancouver Comets that finished in first place in the league this year.
However, the Capitals repeated as provincial champions by sweeping the Comets in two games.
The March 18 game saw the Capitals fall behind 1-0 in the first period, and the Comets doubled the lead less than a minute into the second stanza.
Noting they had split the regular season games, Cailey says the Comets have a “really good” offensive system.
“We hadn’t adjusted to it yet and they were getting a lot of breaks and chances and they capitalized on a couple. But our coach [Mario Desjardins] recognized [the system they were using] and we adjusted to it and we shut them down [for the rest of the] second and third, and scored a few goals.”
Cailey says they started playing a trap, which meant “everyone had to have their heads on a swivel and know where the players were around them.”
Capitals’ Myah Bowal from Terrace cut the lead in half around eight minutes into the second, and then at 2:22 of the frame, Hunter Mosher from Chetwynd tied it up on a rebound.
The teams went into the third period tied at two apiece, and Cailey says they had control of the play with their forechecking and “shut them down defensively.”
Three minutes into the period, Bowal scored on a nice pass from Mosher, giving the Capitals their first lead of the game.
Try as they may, the Comets couldn’t shake the great defensive work of their northern opponents.
Cailey, who plays centre, says her team got a penalty late in the game and the Comets pulled their goalie to have a six-on-four advantage, but Mosher scored an empty-net goal in the last minute of the contest.
She adds there were a lot of penalties called during the period.
“She [referee] was letting us get away with a lot in the first two periods. It was rough … it was playoff hockey for sure.”
Cailey notes the Comets were getting frustrated and started taking a lot of penalties.
She says they had a lot of fan support because of the parents, grandparents and other relatives who showed up for the games.
“We had more fans than them or just as many. It was pretty cool.”
In game 2, the Northern Capitals scored on the second shift of the first period when Mosher found the back of the net behind the Comets’ goalie.
“We played a trap for the rest of the game and it was very effective. My dad says it’s ‘boring’ hockey.
“Everything they practised and all of their systems we figured them out, and every time they tried to do something, we would just stop them and the puck would go back into their end.”
Cailey says there was a big celebration when the final buzzer sounded.
“It was pretty cool. Gloves, helmets and neck guards were flying.”
The Capitals will now take on the champion of the Alberta Major Midget Female Hockey League (AMMFHL) in the Pacific Midget Female Regionals in Prince George on April 1-3 for the right to represent the Pacific region at the 2016 ESSO Cup.
The ESSO Cup is Hockey Canada’s National Female Midget Championship and it will take place in Weyburn, Sask. on April 19-25.
Cailey notes their coach gave the players a week off for the rest of spring break, but then they will be back at it working hard to prepare for the next round.
“He said it was risky but we deserved a week off.”
Cailey says she really enjoys playing in Prince George, and while she misses her family and her pets, she is billeting with her dad’s friends and they are taking good care of her.
“They’re both great cooks, so it’s awesome.”
Cailey’s mom, Cristy, helped with a little bit of history.
“Cailey started skating when she was two years old and she was pretty good.”
Cristy recalls taping candies to hockey pucks and tossing them down the outdoor rink. Cailey would have to skate down to them “and not crawl but skate” to get the candy, she says with a laugh.
Cailey started in minor hockey when she was four years old. Later because her sister, Cassidy, was two years older, Cailey would play in the same division.
Now, she still has another year of midget eligibility to keep her playing the game she loves.
Next on the schedule is getting her name, face, number and statistics out to colleges and coaches in hope they will come to see her play and offer her a scholarship.