Notre Dame Hounds 3 - Thunder Bay Queens 4
THUNDER BAY QUEENS CROWNED ESSO CUP CHAMPIONS
REGINA, Sask. – They are this year’s royalty of female midget hockey.
The Thunder Bay Queens (Ontario) were crowned champions of the second annual Esso Cup on Saturday, after reigning victorious over the Notre Dame Hounds (West) 4-3 in a thrilling on-ice battle that had fans on the edges of their seats both inside the Co-operators Centre at Evraz Place, and in living rooms across the county as eyes stayed glued on TSN2 for three solid periods of a skilled female game.
Kaitlyn Tougas (Thunder Bay, Ont.) contributed half of the goals for the Queens, tying up the game at one apiece with a beautiful goal at 14:47 in the first period. She displayed some slick stick handling skills, putting it through the legs of a Notre Dame defenceman before deking out netminder Tamber Tisdale (Red Deer, Alta.).
The back-and-forth action continued throughout the game, with fans on both sides of the stands trying to outdo each other with enthusiastic cheers that filled the rink. Notre Dame reclaimed the lead early in the second, when Brienna Gillanders (Kyle, Sask.) scored on a power play with help from Olivia Howe (Moose Jaw, Sask.) and Woods.
The Hounds continued to put the offensive pressure on, with Brittany Berisoff (Kelowna, B.C.) making it 3-1 on another power play at 11:25 in the second. But penalties started to hurt rather than help Notre Dame, with the next power play marker going to Courtney Tougas (Thunder Bay, Ont.) of the Queens.
Another second period power play evened up the score, with Michela Cava (Thunder Bay, Ont.) making it 3-3 before the intermission. And while it looked like the evenly matched game may head into overtime, the Tougas girls came through on another power play, combining for the game winning goal with an assist going to Kaitlyn Quarrell (Thunder Bay, Ont.).
That resulted in chants of “Let’s go Queens” from spectators, with Notre Dame fans answering back with “Let’s go Hounds” in an attempt to push their favourite teams forward. But in the end, the game belonged to the Thunder Bay Queens, who laid claim to their first National Female Midget Championship title.
Crystal Duhaime (Geraldton, Ont.) was named Player of the Game for Notre Dame, while Kaitlyn Tougas received the same honour for winning team Thunder Bay. The Olympic theme song “I Believe,” reflecting the motto of the Thunder Bay Queens, filtered from the winning team’s dressing room after the game.