Samaras helps lead Terrace to gold

Rupert netminder Kat Samaras helped the Terrace midget reps beat Lower Mainland teams handily at a tournament in Kamloops last month.

The Terrace Girls Midget Rep team is showing they are a serious provincial contender, as Rupert netminder  Kat Samaras helped the team beat Lower Mainland teams handily at a tournament in Kamloops last month.

The team skated away with gold after beating teams from Smithers, Tri-city, North Shore, Abbotsford and Surrey, going undefeated and only allowing two goals against the entire tournament, which was held Nov. 22-24.

“If you had asked any of those teams going in there if we were the favourite, they probably would have said no,” said co-coach Kevin Kennedy, who leads the team alongside Randy Kasum.

“It wasn’t a cakewalk, all of the games were tough games, especially the semi and the final.”

The team they shut out in the final, the Surrey Falcons, took gold at the Richmond tournament at the beginning of November. The Terrace team placed third after losing in the semi-finals.

That meant making some changes.

“We juggled some lines, we had the girls play in different situations and with different players, we tightened up our defence quite a bit,” Kennedy said.

“I’m pretty proud of the girls, I think we improved our game dramatically in the month since the Richmond tournament, everybody played outstanding, we had contributions from everyone. We really challenged the girls, they were high-paced games against really good hockey teams.”

It’s a young team this year with three players underage, Kennedy said, and the team was by far the youngest at the Kamloops tournament.

They’ve also welcomed new talent from around the northwest to the team – players are from Prince Rupert, Terrace, Stewart, Hazelton, Prince George and 100 Mile House. Samaras is the lone Prince Rupert player, with Kennedy saying she played “outstanding” throughout the tournament.

“Good group of girls and they get along terrifically,” Kennedy said.

And the team has some decisions to make about their next tournament – they’ve been invited to a tournament in San Jose, California in January, and there is also a tournament in Abbotsford.

“We’re in pretty good shape going into the provincials here,” he said. “I think we’re a competitive team, so we’ve got to go where we’re going to get some good games, keep the girls playing at a higher level.”