Dauphin (MB) – Canada opened its pre-competition schedule with an 9-1 win over the Central Plains Midget AAA Capitals on Tuesday night in Dauphin, Manitoba. Caroline Ouellette (Montreal, QC/ Minnesota, WWHL) paced Canada with three assists, while Winnipegger Jennifer Botterill (Mississauga, NWHL) and Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, ON/ Mercyhurst College, CHA) added two goals.
Team Canada was thrilled to be in game action on Tuesday night, as they faced the Central Plains team at the Dauphin Credit Union Centre. For many of the Canadian players, it had been two weeks since their last game action.
Jayna Hefford (Kingston, ON/ Brampton, NWHL) had the first great scoring chance of the game, sent in alone off the wing by Hayley Wickenheiser (Shaunavon, SK/ Calgary, WWHL). But Central Plains goaltender Tom Pescitelli was up to the task, cutting down the angle and making the save. Hefford and Delaney Collins (Pilot Mount, MB) had two more point-blank scoring chances in the next few minutes, as Canada had a 10-1 shots on goal advantage at the 5-minute mark, but no goals to show for it as Pescitelli continued to play well.
Kim St-Pierre (Châteauguay, QC/ Montreal, NWHL) was not as busy but did have to come up big on a Central Plains two-on-one rush, as she came across to rob Ryan Audino, Central Plains top scorer during the Midget AAA regular season. The first period ended scoreless, with Canada having a 19-6 shot advantage.
Canada capitalized on its 23rd shot on net, in the second period, to open the scoring at 3:23. Gillian Ferrari (Thornhill, ON/ Calgary, NWHL) pushed a rebound past Pescitelli after he had stopped Katie Weatherston from in close.
Tessa Bonhomme (Sudbury, ON/ Ohio State, WCHA) made it 2-0, firing a wrist shot from the point that found its way past goaltender Monty Kirkwood, who came in to replace Pescitelli at the mid-way point of the second.
Another shot from the point made it 3-0, as Delaney Collins (Pilot Mound, MB) let another quick wrist shot that changed directions and handcuffed goaltender Kirkwood. That’s how the score stood through forty minutes of play.
Twenty-three seconds into the final period, Hefford fed Jennifer Botterill (Winnipeg, MB/ Mississauga, NWHL) and the Manitoba native slid the puck under Kirkwood’s pads.
Central Plains ended St-Pierre’s bid for a shutout less than 30 seconds later, as Ryan Audino came in off the wing and beat her with a quick wrist shot. Canada led 4-1 early in the final frame.
Agosta, with two, Gina Kingsbury (Rouyn-Noranda, QC/ Calgary, WWHL), Botterill, with her second, and Gillian Apps (Unionville, ON/ Dartmouth College, ECAC) added goals in the third as Canada opened its pre-competition schedule with a convincing 9-1 win over Central Plains. Botterill and Apps’ goals came in an 18-second span while Canada was shorthanded. Canada also dominated on the shot clock with a 55-22 advantage.
Canada faces the local midget AAA team, the Parkland Rangers, on Thursday, March 29th. Game time on Thursday is 7:30 (Local time) and tickets are available at the door. Canada’s one and only international exhibition game will be on March 31st in Selkirk, where they will take on the 4th ranked team in the World, Finland.