WESTVILLE ROAD – It was not as if they had just won the Stanley Cup, or even the Subway Cup.
But when the Pictou County Atom A Selects beat the Pownal Red Devils 5-4 last Friday at the Subway Cup female hockey tournament, the girls piled onto the ice and on top of each other, in a joyous celebration.
And with very good reason.
After months of waiting, the girls finally had their first win; they had managed to scrape out a couple of ties in the first 14 games of the season, but the victory over the Red Devils at the Pictou County Wellness Centre was the first time they put a W in their back pockets.
“For sure, it was just like they had won the whole tournament,” said Duane Cleary, whose daughter Molly plays on the team.
“After that first win, they were pretty proud of themselves. They worked so hard all season and it was long overdue. It was a pretty large celebration in the dressing room.”
Coached by Chad Otter, the Atom A Selects are mostly filled with nine- and 10-year-old players, but they were backstopped on the weekend by seven-year-old goaltender Lydia Mason.
She was brought up from Novice this season when there was a possibility that the Pictou County Female Hockey Association might be in danger of not being able to ice an Atom squad.
“It could have been that there’d be no Atom team this year,” Cleary said, “so Lydia moved up.”
The Atom A Selects must have liked that first taste of sweet victory at the Subway Cup: they went out the very next day and won again, this time defeating North River, P.E.I., by a 1-0 score as Mason got the shutout between the pipes.
And although they did not move past the round robin in the tournament, their weekend performance was nothing short of a success.
“They know they are getting better and they knew that (winning) was eventually going to happen,” Cleary added.
“It’s fun for them to go out on the ice and play, but it’s also nice to see them improving – and by improving, enough so that they can win some games.”