Phoenix put the heat on R.H. King

[attach]1344[/attach]It was a game of firsts for the Northview Heights Phoenix.

Making their premiere in the North/East Championships, the Phoenix girls hockey had high hopes of dethroning the favoured R.H. King Lions Mar. 3.

But even though the team lost in overtime 4-3, vying for top spot in Tier 2 was an amazing experience, Northview coach Jennifer Kennedy said.

“This was the first time the team made the finals. So that was an accomplishment in itself,” she said.

Helping to stoke the enthusiasm already surging inside her charges was the two busloads of fans donned in the blue and gold, waving placards with “Go Northview Phoenix” on them.

“It was amazing,” Kennedy said two days after the final. “The fans were really excited, even when we got back to the school there were about 75 students and staff ready to greet the team, so it was really positive.”

Notching markers for the blue and gold were Genevieve Harvey, who opened the scoring and Nicole Langballe who tied the game in the third period.

Langballe’s stand-out play was a pleasant surprise to her coaches Kennedy and Sharon Hutchison.

“She does score goals from time-to-time, but she’s not typically a top-scorer, so that was a huge performance from her,” Kennedy said. “Overall it was amazing effort by our team.”

Putting the puck in the net for R.H. King were assistant captain Catherine Ho with two and veteran captain Sarah Iserhoff with another pair, including the game winner 31 seconds into overtime.

Coach Jen Wilson was thrilled with the nail-biting win.

“The girls did well, but at first it took them a bit to settle in,” she said. “I think they were nervous because they really, really wanted the win.

“It was an excellent hockey game, a lot of back and forth between both teams.”

Overtime came much like a Sidney Crosby golden goal for the Lions.

“I actually watched a video last night of it because it just sort of happened. It was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s over’,” Wilson laughed.

The loss concludes the year for Northview but next season burns brighter, with building interest on the foundations built during this run.

“Most of the players are returning next year,” Kennedy said. “We’re probably only losing maybe two players at the most.

“Girls are already coming asking if they can join next year.”