Rolling Edmonton Thunder remain unbeaten after dramatic comeback against North Bay Ice Boltz
by Lucas Scott
It took two goals in the final six minutes and a six-player shootout, but the Edmonton Thunder (Pacific) managed to claw all the way back to a 5-4 victory over the North Bay Ice Boltz (Ontario), claiming top spot in the tournament standings.
In a game with Esso Cup gold medal game implications, it was only fitting that it took until the final shooter to decide the winner, as Jessica Healey (Edmonton, Alta.) maneuvered the puck around a sprawling Alexx Ridding (Barrie, Ont.) to keep her team unbeaten through the tournament’s first three games.
“It was pretty intense, but scoring the goal and seeing my teammates smile and waiting to celebrate with me was the best part,” said Healey, who also scored a big goal in the final minute of the first, halting the momentum held by North Bay through the first 20 minutes.
The Edmonton Thunder struggled out of the gate, taking four straight penalties and surrendering a pair of power play goals, before Healey’s four-on-four tally with 35 seconds left cut the deficit to one goal.
The period ended with Ontario holding a 10-6 shot advantage. A less disciplined Edmonton team was lucky to be only trailing by one, something head coach Cassea Schols addressed in the intermission.
“Absolutely, it was something we wanted to fix,” she said after the game. “Throughout the year, (discipline) was one of our main goals.
“We got away from it there and it really affected us.” Schols said.
Despite playing a much stronger, more disciplined period in the second, the Edmonton Thunder were caught flat-footed on a speedy zone entry by Ontario captain Toni Maisonneuve (North Bay, Ont.), which turned into a three-on-one down low that was finished off by Courtney Geisler (Powassan, Ont.), putting the North Bay Ice Boltz up 3-1.
Almost lost in the high-scoring affair was the stellar play of Chloe Sanderson (Edmonton, Alta.), who made 28 saves, including at least six point blank chances on a Thunder penalty kill, five minutes into the third.
Nicole Gorda (Edmonton, Alta.) rewarded her keeper’s efforts with a big-time goal coming out of the box to make it 3-2.
After the North Bay Ice Boltz restored the two-goal lead just a couple of minutes later, Edmonton refused to accept defeat.
Nearing the five-minute mark, Edmonton captain Mikaeli Cavell (Edmonton, Alta.) gave her team new life, outmuscling several defenders to jam home a left-side rebound for her second goal and sixth point of the tournament.
As the clock wound down, Coach Schols called a timeout with 1:10 remaining, pulling Sanderson for a sixth attacker. Seven seconds later, the gamble paid off, with Taylor Hughson (Edmonton, Alta.), finding the back of the net from the left-side for a huge goal to force overtime.
Sanderson continued to will her team to victory, making all three stops in the shootout, including one on Corie Jacobson (Warren, Ont.), who came in with a move quite similar to Monday’s shootout winner.
“We watched the shootout from the last game that they had, and the coaches told me she’d try the same thing, and she did, so I knew what to do,” Sanderson said shortly after stepping out of the net and off the ice.
Though disappointed with the outcome, Jacobson hopes the close games will have her team well-prepared for the playoffs.
“I think it prepares all of us for the nerves that come from overtime and shootouts … especially the younger ones that have never experienced a tournament like this before,” the speedy defender reflected post-game at Bill Copeland Sports Centre.
Both teams will be back in action tomorrow, as North Bay draws the suddenly surging Quebec region’s LHFDQ Nord at noon PT, followed by Edmonton getting its first taste of the Regina Rebels from the West at 4 p.m. PT.
You can follow the action live on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/HC_EssoCup or watch online for free at www.hockeycanada.fasthockey.com, or even better, stop by the Bill Copeland Sports Centre in Burnaby to see it the top female Midget teams in action on the ice.
|Game Information/Renseignements sur le match|
|Game #/No. de match||8
|Arena/Aréna||Bill Copeland Sports Centre
|Date||Tues. Apr. 23, 2013
||Time/Heure||4:00 p.m. PT
|Goals & Penalties/Buts et pénalités|
|First Period/Première période
11:07 ONT Sarah Verbeek (Corie Jacobson) PP/AN
14:02 ONT Taylor Murphy (Alexane Papineau, Corie Jacobson) PP/AN
19:25 PAC Jessica Healey (Alexandra Poznikoff)
01:57 PAC Sydney Thomlison (Holding/Retenir)
09:26 PAC Morgan Casson (Tripping/Faire trébucher)
13:52 PAC Cayle Dillon (Tripping/Faire trébucher)
18:43 PAC Sydney Thomlison (Boarding/Donner de la bande)
19:21 ONT Toni Maisonneuve (Interference/Obstruction)
|Second Period/Deuxième période
15:02 ONT Courtney Geisler (Toni Maisonneuve, Alexane Papineau)
05:10 ONT Allison Rich (Tripping/Faire trébucher)
17:58 ONT Cynthia St. Cyr (Tripping/Faire trébucher)
|Third Period/Troisième période
06:58 PAC Nicole Gorda (Cayle Dillon)
08:42 ONT Julie Vaillancourt (Courtney Geisler)
14:13 PAC Mikaeli Cavell (Amy Boucher)
18:57 PAC Taylor Hughson (Nicole Gorda, Mikaeli Cavell)
04:47 PAC Nicole Gorda (Tripping/Faire trébucher)
|Shootout/Tirs de barrage
|ONT Courtney Geisler (No Goal/Aucun But)
PAC Nicole Gorda (No Goal/Aucun But)
ONT Corie Jacobson (No Goal/Aucun But)
PAC Amy Boucher(No Goal/Aucun But)
ONT Chloe Dion (No Goal/Aucun But)
PAC Jessica Healey (Goal/But)
|Goaltenders/Gardiennes de but|
|Shots on Goal/Tirs au but||1||2||3||OT/P||Total|
|Players of the Game/Joueurse du match|