North Bay Ice Boltz upset Edmonton Thunder to earn first-ever berth in Esso Cup final
by Alexa Dziubenko
BURNABY, B.C. – The North Bay Ice Boltz (Ontario) devastated the Edmonton Thunder (Pacific) 5-1 on Friday night, with a goal and two assists from Chloe Dion (North Bay, Ont.) setting the pace and helping put her team in an Esso Cup gold medal game for its very first time.
The impressive win also put an end to the Edmonton Thunder’s undefeated streak at this year’s tournament. The Western reps won five straight games in the preliminary round, whereas the team from Ontario had two wins, one shootout win, one shootout loss and one loss in five days.
But Edmonton put a goal on the scoreboard first, with Elizabeth Salyn (Edmonton, Alta.) accepting the puck from Hailey Presisniuk (Edmonton, Alta.) and Brett Campbell (Edmonton, Alta.) to make it 1-0 at 3:53 in the first. North Bay answered less than two minutes later on a goal from Taylor Murphy (Corbeil, Ont.).
The Edmonton Thunder successfully skated hard to kill off a five-on-three, but the North Bay Ice Boltz were able to break the tie – and steal away the lead for the game – at 11:44 in the period. Dion scored what would be the game-winning goal, assisted by Toni Maisonneuve (North Bay, Ont.) and Corie Jacobson (Warren, Ont.).
The Edmonton Thunder stumbled into the start of the second. The North Bay Ice Boltz were able to capitalize on the opposition’s on-ice scrambling, with Kaitlyn McManus (Hunstville, Ont.) scoring at 2:33 to make it 3-1 for the Ontario reps. North Bay continued to dig at the net, and less than a minute later, Julie Vallaincourt (North Bay, Ont.), with help from Murphy and Dion, widened the gap to make it 4-1 going into intermission.
With a comfortable three-goal lead over Edmonton, North Bay started the third focusing on strengthening its defensive unit and keeping the puck out of their own end. North Bay netminder Sabrina Picard (Hearst, Ont.) stood strong between the posts, stopping every shot Edmonton could muster.
A desperate Edmonton crew pulled their goaltender with two minutes left in the game, but their efforts were too little, too late. Cynthia St. Cyr (New Liskeard, Ont.) scored the final goal of the game, cementing North Bay’s 5-1 win, and a spot for the Ontario team in the gold medal game.
Although Edmonton usually succeeds in recovering from a multi-goal deficit, the agility of Picard proved impervious, and the heartbroken Edmonton Thunder skates away without capturing that elusive Esso Cup gold medal for its fifth straight appearance at the national championship.
“We’ve got good goaltending,” head coach Darren Turcotte said after the game. “Sabrina has been remarkable through our regional playdowns, through our provincial playdowns, and all this week.
“This week she’s just in her zone,” he added. “And we’re looking for her to be in the zone for 60 more minutes tomorrow.”
North Bay will battle LHFDQ Nord (Quebec) for gold at 6 p.m. PT at Bill Copeland Sports Centre. The gold medal game will be televised live on TSN, Hockey Canada’s official broadcasters. The journey is not over for Edmonton; the Thunder will face the Regina Rebels (West) in the bronze medal game Saturday, April 27 at 2 p.m. PT. Follow the games live on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/HC_EssoCup.
|Game Information/Renseignements sur le match|
|Game #/No. de match||17
|Arena/Aréna||Bill Copeland Sports Centre
|Date||Fri. Apr. 26, 2013
||Time/Heure||6:00 p.m. PT
|Goals & Penalties/Buts et pénalités|
|First Period/Première période
03:03 PAC Elizabeth Salyn (Hailey Presisniuk, Brett Campbell)
05:46 ONT Taylor Murphy (Chloe Dion, Julie Vaillancourt)
11:44 ONT Chloe Dion (Toni Maisonneuve, Corie Jacobson) PP/AN
09:13 PAC Jessica Healey (Tripping/Faire trébucher)
10:40 PAC Sydney Thomlison (Cross-checking/Double-échec)
|Second Period/Deuxième période
02:33 ONT Kaitlyn McManus
03:21 ONT Julie Vaillancourt (Taylor Murphy, Chloe Dion)
|Third Period/Troisième période
19:16 ONT Cynthia St. Cyr EN/FD
13:28 ONT Sarah Verbeek (Check to the Head/Mise en échec à la tête)
|Goaltenders/Gardiennes de but|
|Shots on Goal/Tirs au but||1||2||3||Total|
|Players of the Game/Joueurse du match|