NRL Lightning win Silver at Canadian National Ringette Championships, News (Richmond Hill Ringette)

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NRL Lightning win Silver at Canadian National Ringette Championships
Submitted By Scott Thompson on Sunday, April 5, 2015
After making a number of moves during the off season last summer, the Lightning far exceeded the expectations of many by qualifying to participate in the Canadian National Ringette Championships held in Wood Buffalo, Alberta March 30 to April 4th.

NRL_V2.JPGAfter putting together a respectable 19-7-0 record to finish fourth in their division during league play, the Lightning needed to get past a pesky Bourassa Royal squad in a best of three series to qualify for participation at the Nationals. The Lightning advanced by winning the series two games to one in three very exciting games with each game decided by a single goal.

Up first for the Lightning at the Nationals was the Western Division leading Edmonton WAM! These two teams had split their games during regular season play winning 2 games a piece. The Bolts took the opener 6-3 and never trailed during the game. Next up was the number one ranked Cambridge Turbos who had won all four matches between the two teams during regular season play and continued to show their dominance with a decisive 8-0 win over the Bolts. Still reeling from the loss, the Lightning dropped an 8-1 decision in their next match against the Calgary RATH. 

The Lighting knew they would likely need to win all four of their remaining games to have a chance at advancing to the semi finals and would have to do so by knocking off three teams ranked higher than themselves. That endeavour got off to a good start when the Lightning downed the number 3 ranked Montreal Mission 7-4. The Bolts followed with a 3-2 win over the number four ranked Gloucester Devils; and kept the momentum going by upsetting number 2 ranked Ottawa Ice 8-4. Still standing in their way was the Waterloo Wildfire with whom the Bolts had split their season series with at two games a piece. The Lightning took the match 8-6 thanks to a five goal outburst in the second period to finish second over all and set up a rematch with the Edmonton WAM in the semi final. The Bolts held a 3-1 lead at the mid point of the third period, but found themselves tied at 3-3 by the end of regulation play. In overtime, the Lightning won on their very first possession when Jessica Jones found the back of the net 12 seconds in off an excellent set up from Karen McWilliams.

Facing the Cambridge Turbos in the final, the Lightning jumped into an early 1-0 lead when McWilliams scored 41 seconds into the match. However, the Turbos would tie the score and take a 2-1 lead by the end of the second period.  The Turbos went ahead 3-1 in the third before McWilliams brought the Bolts within a goal at 3-2 late in the period. The Turbos restored their 2 goal lead a minute later to take a 4-2 advantage into the final frame en route to a 6-2 decision to relegate the Lightning as silver medalists. 

Leading the Lightning to their first medal and best finish ever at the National Championships was Kristin Johnston with 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists); Melissa Simone with 12 points (6g, 6a); and Karen McWilliams with 12 points (3g, 9a). Ashley Miller and Ashley Steele were solid in net throughout with Miller posting the best save percentage (0.913) of all goaltenders at the Championships. 

The NRL presented their annual awards during the closing ceremonies with the Lightning’s Beth Hurren taking home top defence honours.

Congratulations Lightning on an excellent season!
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