It was said early on that Fort Simpson would be the team to beat, and that prediction proved true during the eighth annual Fort Smith women's "Hockey Bags" invitational hockey tournament over the weekend.
The Fort Simpson Moosehide Mammas went undefeated, taking out both Fort Smith teams and the Hay River Hazard to win the top spot.
Sunday’s final match was a runaway game for Simpson, who scored four goals in the first period against Hay River to secure a win. While Hay River came back with a couple of their own, two more goals by the Mammas finished the game 6-2.
Hay River was wounded by the loss of their starting goalie, Sophie Call, during their round-robin game against Simpson the evening before. A hip injury landed Call in the hospital on Saturday night, sending her back to the arena on crutches.
The Hazard barely scraped their way into the finals after a tight match against Fort Smith’s Rage team. Both teams went head to head, goal for goal in a sudden death shootout after tying 1-1 during regular play. After Hay River scored with their fifth shooter, it was Fort Smith’s turn to match it, which they tried to, unsuccessfully.
The Rage ended up facing off against fellow Fort Smith team, the Wrath, in the consolation final on Sunday. The Wrath took advantage of Rage’s exhaustion following back-to-back playoff games, winning 1-0 and claiming bragging rights for the rest of the season.
The teams will meet again in three weeks when Fort Simpson holds their invitational on Feb. 8-10, and again in Hay River on Mar. 1-3.