KAMLOOPS — The Kamloops Vibe continued their winning ways in the South Coast Women's Hockey League with a pair of 5-0 wins over the North Shore Rebels last weekend. The wins propelled the Vibe further ahead in league standings heading into the Christmas break.
It's momentum they hope they're able to maintain, as the team hunts for yet another league title and provincial championship banner.
"We've created a reputation for ourselves where it's competitive hockey," says forward Rochelle Smith, who is second in league scoring with 22 points. "You can come and have fun, play competitive hockey, and know it's not like a beer league — we're here to win, and we expect to win."
Win they have. This season the Vibe sit atop the South Coast League standings with 13 wins, two losses and a tie. Their 27 points is eight ahead of their closest rivals, the Fraser Valley Jets.
The big reason the Vibe continue to play with such a high level of confidence is because they have Ashley Fisher backstopping them.
"There have been so many games over the years that we would not have won without Ashley Fisher in net," says Smith. "She is so consistent, she's great at watching the puck, looking at her angles. She'll be facing a three-on-one and stop it."
From Fisher's perspective, it's easier to play with confidence when the players in front of her are putting the puck in the net.
"When we're scoring more, we're way more successful as a team," says Fisher. "When we let teams hang on in a 1-0 game we tend to struggle a little bit. So having those girls up there that seem to be able to find the back of the net is definitely key."
Since the 2013 and 2014 season, Fisher has amassed 67 regular season wins for the Vibe, including all 13 this season — all in a league that she says is getting better and better every season.
"It's a great place to come after minor hockey if you want to play competitively," says Fisher. "Definitely the league has just gotten better and better. You don't have any games to take off. Every game is a challenge. We're still playing for provincials. The only place you can really play competitively once your university is done, or if you are not going to university."
The core group of athletes at the heart of the Kamloops Vibe have been playing together for close to a decade now, amassing a handful of league, provincial and western Canadian championships during those years. For both Fisher and Smith, the reason has everything to do with the group of players in the Vibe room.
"When we're winning we're having fun. And (when) we're having fun we're winning."
It goes hand in hand, says Fisher.
"It's fun to come out every year and always know we have a good group of girls that are going to go to provincials," says Smith. "We want to win."
The Vibe return to league play in mid-January.
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