ICWG: Hockey tourneys kick into gear

Sydney Dann, left, clears the puck out of her team’s defensive zone while Jaylyn Morris applies pressure for Port Moody in a game Tuesday on the Olympic Center’s USA Rink. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — A group of young local hockey players are fortunate that the International Children’s Winter Games have come to their community, and they are excited to be participating in the event.

The ice hockey competitions kicked off Tuesday at the Olympic Center, and Saranac Lakers Carter Sturgeon and Sydney Dann were in the thick of the action as members of two teams representing the United States, as well as Lake Placid.

Sturgeon, who plays varsity hockey at Saranac Lake, is competing with the boys squad made up of fellow Red Storm skaters, members of Lake Placid’s varsity team, as well as other boys from around the North County. And it’s the same scenario for Dann, who is joining Saranac Lake Placid teammates and other area skaters in the girls division.

For the two young athletes, the ICWG event is all about fun, although both would be thrilled to come away from three days of ice hockey action with medals. Sturgeon and his Lake Placid teammates got off to a great start Tuesday, winning both their games by a combined score of 14-1. Meanwhile, Dann and her teammates found the going much more competitive, as they dropped a pair of tight matchups to opponents representing Canada.

Heading into Wednesday’s schedule, Lake Placid’s boys are 2-0 after posting an 8-0 shutout victory over Delemont, Switzerland, and then following up with a 6-1 triumph over Graz, Austria.

Carter Sturgeon skates with the puck Tuesday during action against Delemont, Switzerland at the Olympic Center. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime for most kids,” Sturgeon said. “You’re not really going to do this again because it’s in a different country. It’s good that this is in our hometown. It’s fun to play in an event like this with hundreds of people coming for different sports, from skiing to hockey. It’s fun for us, it’s awesome to be a part of it.”

On the high school hockey front, Sturgeon is a defenseman for the Red Storm hockey team, and said he’s just fine wearing a blue and gold sweater bearing the the name of Lake Placid, which is normally Saranac Lake’s bitter rival.

“We’ve been rivals since way back, but it’s for the USA, it’s for this tournament,” Sturgeon said. “It’s fun to be a part of the Lake Placid team. It was neat being on the ice with kids who speak a different language, so that brings a new culture to us. For me, playing in this tournament is mostly for fun, but I’d like to get a medal. I’d love to have one.”

The girls representing Lake Placid began their run with a pair of close losses Tuesday, starting with a 2-0 shutout loss to Port Moody, a team from British Columbia. The local girls then fell in a heartbreaker, dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to Ancaster, another Canadian team hailing from Ontario.

“They were good, they were fast, they moved the puck well,” Dann said describing her team’s first opponent.

Dann said she believes the Lake Placid girls squad will improve as they spend more time together on the ice.

“We had one practice for one hour,” she said. “I think that the girls are more timid getting to know each other. With boys – I used to play on a boys team – it’s like they knew each other, and they just went out and played. I think that we played pretty well for our first time skating together, but we lost. We have to get a win.

“This event; It’s a blast, it’s so much fun,” Dann added. “I love working with other girls from different areas than I normally play against in the regular season. It’s fun to meet new people. It was amazing. The ultimate goal is to have fun, but winning would be pretty cool too.”

Both Lake Placid teams will play two more games again today, with the ice hockey competition wrapping up on Thursday with the medal and consolation rounds.

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