The Richmond Ravens Bantam C1 girls hockey team saved its best for last, doubling the North Shore Avalanche 4-2 to capture the Pacific Amateur Hockey Association Blue Group playoff banner.
After a struggling in the regular season, the Ravens came on strong in the playoffs, culminating with the final against the Avalanche.
North Shore opened the scoring, but centre Megumi Randall quickly evened things up with a high-angle wrist-shot. A further exchange of goals followed, with Sidney Parker banging in a superb cross-ice pass from Veronica Pallone. Four minutes later, Pallone repeated the pass but this time to Randall, who backhanded the puck into the net.
A scoreless but furious second period ensued, with goalie Taubin Stoneman anchoring the Ravens through some very tense moments. Blueliners Qianna Olarte and Lauryn Murray made opposing players feel downright unwelcome in front of the net, while Lauren Gee and Amanda MacDonald blunted several Avalanche rushes. Holly Jang and Nicole Heinrich added to the excitement with rushes of their own.
Wingers Sara Woodley and Mahara Gibson-Zeinoun initiated scoring chances, with Sydney Dowling close by to pick up the rebounds.
Sarah Marcoe was a regular guest in front of the Avalanche net, while Emma Leong was a fearsome battler along the boards. Sarah Mayer and Athena Palmieri both forechecked tenaciously, always on the lookout for timely turnovers.
The third period saw the Avalanche fighting desperately to even up the game. However, Ravens captain Jaime Hawbolt sealed the win with an empty netter in the final minute.
The girls are coached by Drew McDonald. His assistants are Joel Marcoe, Ed Dowling, Eric Olarte and George Heinrich. The manager is Candice Maitson.
Five other Raven teams have also captured playoff banners - Atom C1, Atom C3, Pee Wee A, Pee Wee C2 and Midget A.
Icing... The Ravens are hosting the Midget and Pee Wee "A" provincial championships, starting on Sunday and concluding Thursday.