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Slash take gold at USA Canada Cup

From here the Slash will reset and get ready to resume their season in the Alberta Female Hockey League (AFHL). They currently sit third place in their division with a 10-6-0 record and will look to add another win onto that when the first-place Edmonton Pandas come to town on Friday night at the Go Auto Arena. 
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CHAMPIONS — The St. Albert Slash went a perfect 5-0-0 at the 2021 USA Canada Cup Series in Kitchener, Ont., Dec. 3-5, 2021. The gold medal game saw the club edge out hosts Waterloo Ravens for a hard-fought 3-2 victory on Dec. 3, 2021. SUPPLIED/Photo

The St. Albert U18 AAA Slash returned home with gold medals after a successful run at the 2021 USA Canada Cup Series in Kitchener and Waterloo. 

The tournament, held Dec. 3-5, featured 30 other competitive female hockey teams from across Canada. In a normal year the tournament would feature teams from both the U.S. and Canada but this year COVID-19 restrictions only allowed for Canadian teams to participate. 

The Slash opened up the tournament with a 2-1 victory over the Nepean Wildcats. They then followed up with a hard-fought 1-0 win against the Bluewater Hawks later that same day. 

With a perfect record after opening day, the Slash pressed forward into day two of the tournament. The Leaside Jr. Wildcats gave the Slash everything they could handle but St. Albert squeaked out yet another win, 1-0. 

The final round-robin saw the Slash sweep the competition, capping it off with a 2-0 victory over the Ancaster Avalanche. They had an impressive 4-0-0 record that was good enough to qualify them for a gold medal matchup against the host Waterloo Ravens. 

The game was a back-and-forth affair but, once again it was the Slash who came out on top as they secured the gold medal in a 3-2 win over the Ravens. 

Slash head coach Dan Auchenberg said it was a weekend to remember for the team. 

“It was a really great tournament and weekend for the girls,” said Auchenberg. “It’s a tough one to win, you have to go 4-0 before you get to the gold medal game, and they clawed through and played pretty well.”

“They have come a long way since the start of the year; the last 10 to 12 games they have come into their own.” 

One of the things that helped the Slash capture the championship was teamwork. The team was stationed in the quieter Waterloo and forward Michela Naccarato says that helped them come together with some team bonding ahead of the games. 

“We really connected and came together really well over the weekend,” said Naccarato. “To come out with a win was a big confidence boost for our group and overall. We had a blast of a weekend.” 

The tournament was a good measuring stick for the Slash. The club is working toward qualifying for the Esso Cup, Canada’s national championship event for U18 female hockey, in April and most of the teams they faced over the weekend are doing the same. 

Slash defender Reece Mepham said the team used this as a chance to get acquainted with the Ontario teams on the off chance they meet them again in the Esso Cup. 

“It was nice to scope out other teams outside of the six we have in Alberta,” said Mepham. 

From here the Slash will reset and get ready to resume their season in the Alberta Female Hockey League (AFHL). They currently sit third place in their division with a 10-6-0 record and will look to add another win onto that when the first-place Edmonton Pandas come to town on Friday night at the Go Auto Arena.