Earning a treasured place in Mount Royal Cougars hockey lore, Emma Bergesen scored the greatest goal of her career. Finding the back of the net at the 11:10 mark of overtime, the native of Stavanger, Norway provided the Cougars with their first national championship in program history.
Winning the Golden Path Trophy, the triumph was made sweeter by defeating the defending champion Concordia Stingers in the final. As the lead changed hands three times during regulation, Tori Williams scored the Cougars first goal.With Breanne Trotter scoring twice in regulation, the second goal highly dramatic, tying the game with only two seconds remaining, her heroics resulted in Player of the Game honors.
Rising to the occasion in overtime, burying the puck past Stingers backstop Alice Philbert, becoming part of Cougars lore, Bergesen remains admirably gracious. Quickly praising the collaborative effort to reach this plateau, the individual achievement of a golden goal is part of a greater narrative for the jubilant blueliner.
“Seeing the puck cross the line was extremely special, in that moment I knew we made it. It was a team win and everyone contributed to each goal. Jomha did all the work getting the puck to the net and I happened to be there at the right time.
We have worked extremely hard throughout the year, and being privileged to throw our gloves in the air and celebrate with the team is a feeling I cannot put into words. Most girls on the team have experienced playing big games before. I believe bringing that experience into the tournament, allowed us to play on our toes, play to win, and that made the difference.
The game winning goal shows how passion and putting the work in creates opportunities, and how we worked to capitalize on such opportunities.”
Prior to the heroics in the championship finals, Bergesen enjoyed another important contribution at Nationals. Facing off versus the host team Carabins de Montreal in the semi-finals, the Cougars maintained a strong composure.
After a scoreless first period, the Cougars enjoyed the first lead of the game, as freshman Kiana McNinch found the back of the net for her first playoff goal. Worth noting, McNinch earned a pair of assists in the opening round of Nationals, besting the top seeded Varsity Blues.
Although the Carabins managed to tie the score in the third, the hosts would never enjoy a lead. Morgan Ramsay added her name to the scoresheet, with Bergesen and Lyndsey James earning the assists. Standing as the game winner, Bergesen’s involvement provided an element of foreshadowing. Reflecting on the impact of defeating the host team, she recorded four shots on net, her second highest total of the playoffs.
“Being able to make a difference in an important game such as the Semi-Final will always be surreal. Montreal allowed me to use my shot throughout the game, and when Morgan battled to get the rebound in, I was not able to keep my excitement contained.
A goal like that only comes from wanting to win so bad that you are willing to do anything for the team. And I believe that the reason we won the tournament is because we continued to prove how much we wanted the gold medal.”
Adding to the prestige of the championship, Bergesen enjoyed another proud element of acclaim. Along with team captain Tatum Amy, both earned the prestige of All-Canadian status. Bergesen gained a place on the First Team, while Amy, later recognized as the MRU Female Athlete of the Year, earned Second Team honors.
Bergesen provided the Cougars with a solid 26 point season, her playmaking skills superlative, as demonstrated by 20 assists. Assembling a trio of multi point performances, her finest effort in the regular season was a three point outburst on October 1. Scoring twice versus the Alberta Pandas, including the game winning goal, Bergesen and Amy also assisted on the game’s opening goal by Courtney Kollman.
With mutual respect an essential cornerstone of the Cougars culture, Bergesen finds a role model in her fellow All-Canadian. While she certainly held the same mantle herself, providing strong leadership on the blueline, while bringing a new element of big game experience to the Norwegian national team, Amy always stood as someone to emulate.
Certainly, sharing All-Canadian honors with Amy shall intertwine them during this unforgettable championship chapter in Cougars hockey history. Finding inspiration in Amy’s leadership and positive attitude, the lessons learned for Bergesen are poised to extend into the next season, assuring the promise of continued success.
“I am honored and proud of the recognition we both have received. Recognition should also be given to our team that has given us the confidence to play our game, along with the team drive, that allowed us to succeed.
To share that moment with Tatum was extremely special. Tatum is a person I look up to as a leader, player, and as a person. To share the stage with her and see her getting acknowledgment for everything she does for the team and the community was unique.
Tatum’s leadership style is extremely special and was the perfect fit for our group for the past two years. I believe each one of us is going to take parts of her leadership style into next year and the rest of our lives.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”