Mystixs chasing provincial hockey crown

The Kamloops Mystixs are riding high as they head for Richmond and the female midget A provincial hockey championship tournament that opens Wednesday and runs through Sunday.

The Mystixs have won 11 straight games against teams in their age group, including four straight in the playoffs. After finishing third in regular-season play, they swept second-place Salmon Arm and first-place Kelowna in best-of-three playoff series.

The last game of the championship series with Kelowna went double overtime before Jaclyn Frilund scored to win it and clinch the berth in provincials.

"If we play like we've been playing, I think we'll be very successful," said Kathleen Moss, the Mystixs' head coach, who is assisted by Ken Finnie.

The Mystixs open play in the seven-team tournament on Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., against Meadow Ridge, then play two games, against Campbell River (8 a.m.) and Abbotsford (8 p.m.) on Thursday. On Friday, they'll meet Houston at 11 a.m. Then, on Saturday, it's Cranbrook at 11 a.m., and Richmond at 8 p.m.

The championship final, between the two top teams in the round-robin, will be played Sunday at 8 p.m.

The Mystixs have played only two of these teams already this season. They twice beat Meadow Ridge, once in a Langley tournament after Christmas. Later, in a Cranbrook tournament, they twice beat the host team, including in the final.

Moss said the Mystixs' game is based on defence and up-tempo play.

"We try every time on the ice, whether it's a practice or a game, to make it high tempo so the girls are getting a good workout and are in good shape," she explained.

The Mystixs carry 15 players on their roster. Moss said they started the season with 16, but had two players leave the team earlier in the season and then added Ayla Oppenheim, an affiliate player, from Merritt.

That roster also includes only one goaltender - Carissa Rix.

"We just hope that she doesn't get hurt," Moss said with something of a nervous chuckle. "At practice, we've had a couple of the girls wear the goalie gear just for fun. And if we had to that, we'd do that."

However she doesn't think it would come to that because "I think there's a tournament goalie down there, in case any of the goalies get hurt."

There's no way the Mystixs want that to happen, though, because as Moss said a replacement goaltender would have "big shoes to fill."

"I wouldn't have anyone else" play goal but Rix, she said.

Joining Frilund, Oppenheim and Rix on the Mystixs roster are Jordan Chern, Dayna Dew, Emily Edmundson, Nikki Eustache, Alexis Gottfriedson, Libby Gottfriedson, Tyra Jamieson, Alanna Janz, Stephanie Martin, Kelsea McCaffrey, Aaren Ritchie-Bonar and Marlie Rittinger.

gdrinnan@kamloopsnews.ca

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