Team chemistry key for Peewees

London Devilettes Peewee A team: Back row left to right: Grace Mclean, Hayden Dunn, Haley Murphy, Mya Farr, Bridget Speiran, Makaylah Eldred, Jayla Lamers, Makena Watson, Kaley Speer. Front row left to right: Makayla Tweedie, Julia Chagnon, Maddie Vilon, Bria McCann, Marissa Chirico, Parker Riley. Missing from photo: Gabrielle Petruniak, Tara Beattie

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A team-first mentality is something the London Devilettes Peewee A team has adopted all season as they’ve competed in the Lower Lakes Female Hockey League (West Division) and in tournaments in Ontario and the U.S.

But creating a team-first atmosphere takes work, as all skills do. The Devilettes’ coaching staff has worked hard to instil the mentality in the players, and the players have done their job, working hard to live the mentality.

“The girls have really adapted well to working with systems and trusting each other to be doing their job on the ice,” says coach Carolyne Roy. “We are always working on hockey skills on the ice – and life skills off the ice.”

It has translated to wins on the ice. The Peewees have medaled at three different tournaments, including capturing a silver medal at their own tourney – the massive London Devilettes Annual Tournament, which draws team from all over the province and beyond. Meanwhile, they won the Markham Starfest Tournament and finished second in the Harbor Centre Cup in Buffalo.

They also qualified for the OWHA Provincials in April by winning a best-of-three series against St. Thomas. With the series tied at one game apiece and trailing 3-0 in the first 5 minutes of Game 3, the Devilettes somehow managed a remarkable 4-3 come-from-behind victory, scoring the winning goal with 26 seconds left in the game.

“Our hard work and dedication have helped us win some important games,” says Roy, who has been coaching with the Devilettes program for four years. “Teamwork, and the ability to work as one, has been key to our success. Our moto is ‘Good teams have talent, Great teams have chemistry.”

The Peewees are a strong, fast-skating team that pressures teams and makes them make mistakes. They’ve done a lot of that in regular season play, competing in a small four-team division against Stratford, Lakeshore and St. Thomas. At the time of this writing, the girls were looking forward to their first-round playoff matchup against the Lakeshore Lightning, which would have put them one step closer to Championship Weekend at the end of March.

Contributions by Carolyne Roy