CALGARY -- Team Ontario outscored the opposition 26-1 in winning its first two games Thursday at the 1998 Esso Women's Nationals Hockey Championship. And Team Quebec, Team New Brunswick and Team Alberta also posted perfect 2-0 won-lost records as the 10-team tournament got underway at the Father David Bauer and Max Bell arenas.
Ontario, represented by the Beatrice Aeros of North York, trounced Nova Scotia 15-0, and also defeated Manitoba 11-1. Team Ontario was led by Olympic silver medalist Cassie Campbell, who amassed seven points, including three goals, in the two games, while Amanda Benoit scored five goals in the two victories.
Quebec, meanwhile got seven-point performances from Olympians Nancy Drolet (4 goals, 3 assists) and Danielle Goyette (3 goals, 4 assists) in routing Prince Edward Island (0-2) 12-0. Veteran forward France St-Louis, also an Olympia, scored twice to lead Team Quebec to a 4-0 victory over the host team, the Edmonton Chimos, the defending champions. Goyette added another goal in the victory over the Chimos, while Caroline Ouellette was the other goal scorer for Quebec.
Alberta, represented by the Calgary Oval X-treme, rode a three-goal hat-trick by Dana Antal to defeat Saskatchewan 4-0, and Alberta was led by two-goal performances by Olympian Jennifer Botterill, Stacy Kozak and Carol Scheibel in a 7-1 victory over Manitoba.
The 1998 championship is being contested among teams from nine provinces, divided into two pools of five teams. Pool A includes Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. Pool B is composed of Quebec, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and the host team. The round-robin portion of the tournament continues on Friday, March 20, with the playoff round opening on Saturday, March 21 and concluding with the bronze- and gold-medal games on Sunday, March 22.
The 1998 Esso Women's National Championship game will be played at 6 p.m. (8:00 p.m. EST), and will be televised live on TSN, and its Quebec-based sister network, Le Réseau des Sports (RDS).
Natalie Christensen of Team BC suffered an apparent concussion when she collided with an opponent from the Edmonton Chimos in first-round play on Thursday.
Christensen fell awkwardly into the corner boards and was knocked unconscious briefly in the mishap. She remained on the ice for several minutes and the referee sent both teams to their respective dressing rooms with 6:46 remaining in the second period.
Medical staff said the BC player was conscious and alert when she was removed from the ice on a stretcher and taken to Foothills Hospital for further treatment. It was not known whether Christensen would be able to participate in the 10-team tournament, which continues through the weekend at Father David Bauer and Max Bell arenas.