Locals bring home gold from Martin Luther King tourney

A trip to San Jose turned out to be more than just a cool experience for a couple of Kelowna-based female midget hockey teams this month.

Kelowna Junior Rockets player Lauren Keen chases down opponent in a game against the Colorado Tigers at a recent female hockey tournament in San Jose.

A trip to San Jose turned out to be more than just a cool experience for a couple of Kelowna-based female midget hockey teams this month.

It turned out to be a golden triumph.

The Thompson Okanagan Female AAA Rockets claimed the Under-17 gold division championship at the 2011 MLK (Martin Luther King) tournament in San Jose, defeating the Anaheim Lady Ducks 2-0 to claim the U-17 title.

At the same time the Kelowna Interior Instrument Junior Rockets were able to come out on top of the U-17 Silver division.

Here’s a look at how these two teams faired at the 40 team event.

• Kelowna IITS Junior Rockets

The Kelowna female midget rep team went undefeated in the tournament including a thrilling 1-0 victory over Richmond in the championship game. Kelowna’s Miranda Pendergraft sniped the winning goal with just 1:07 to play in the game, sending her team to the championship victory.

“We were very excited going into the tournament, to face new international teams that we hadn’t played before,” said team captain Alley Nuyli. “We knew that we would have to work hard to win. The team did just that and I am proud of our effort and the result. It was a great trip.”

Kelowna earlier had earned wins over the Colorado Selects and the Colorado Tigers, the Anaheim Lady Ducks and Meadow Ridge en route to the championship.

“Every game was very competitive and very exciting” said head coach Jeff Keen. “The team battled hard throughout the tournament and demonstrated great commitment to team play. The keys to our success were our strong work ethic at both ends of the ice, great goaltending and excellent penalty killing. This tournament win is a great confidence builder for the team as we work towards playoffs in February.”

The IITS Jr. Rockets are, Jamie Grove, Jasmin Sears, Kayla Yoshida, Samantha Fieseler, Drey Annan, Kylie Wilson, Jade Banman, Meghan Lagaden, Jesse Keca, Kelsey Major, Alley Nyuli, Justine Horne, Jessica Moug, Lauren Keen, Melissa McMillan, Megan Bradford, Miranda Pendergraft and Rachel Lobay.

• Thompson Okanagan AAA

The regional Thompson Okanagan female midget AAA team claimed the U-17 gold division at the MLK tournament with a 2-0 shutout in the final against the Anaheim Lady Ducks.

Tara Bouvette earned the shut-out in net while Kelsey Freudenberger and Bre Frasca scored for the Rockets, who claimed the championship banner while singing O Canada.

Earlier in the tournament the Rockets had the chance to play for the Under-20 championship and played a fast-paced game against the San Jose Jr. Sharks U-19 team.

The Sharks scored late in the second period for the game’s only goal. Despite some good opportunities, the Rockets couldn’t get past the San Jose goalie and the game ended 1-0 in favour of the U19 San Jose Jr. Sharks.

It was the second loss of the event to the older San Jose team who also defeated Kelowna 2-0 with Kelowna goalie Carissa Rix playing an awesome game in net earlier in the event.

The Rockets opened the tournament with a 5-3 win over the Colorado Selects. Kelowna was down 3-1 with 12 minutes left in the third period and then rallied with four unanswered goals to gain the victory. Scoring for the Rockets was Emily Gervais with two, Janessa Jenkins, Shylah Gibb and Kelsey Freudenberger.

The Rockets are back to league play this weekend at Rutland Arena against the Prince George Cougars.

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